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   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - December 5, 2016

Don't forget to check out CruisePage.com, the Internet's largest cruise database. With over 11,000 cruise itineraries and over 300 ship profiles, CruisePage.com is the perfect tool to help you find and book the perfect cruise.

Royal Caribbean Approved To Begin Cuba Service
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced that the Cuban government has granted approval for the company to begin cruises to Cuba. The company said it plans to announce its first Florida-Cuba itineraries in the near future.

Two RCL lines, Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises, will provide guests with travel directly to Cuba"Our guests have expressed real interest in having the opportunity to experience Cuba, and we look forward to bringing them there," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Our discussions with our travel partners indicate that Cuba is a destination that appeals to a new generation of travelers."

Two RCL lines, Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises, will provide guests with travel directly to Cuba for the purpose of providing people-to-people exchanges between guests and Cuban citizens and other travel permitted by current U.S. regulations.

The cruise itineraries will comply with U.S. Department of Treasury rules that permit travel companies to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in people-to-people activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Norwegian Cruise Line Brands All Receive Approval to Sail to Cuba
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. today announced that it has received approval from the government of the Republic of Cuba to operate cruises to Cuba, beginning March 2017. All three of the company's brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, will offer U.S. travelers the opportunity to visit the culturally and historically rich country on select sailings starting next year. The voyages will provide guests with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover not only the rich culture, history and natural beauty of Cuba, but more importantly experience the warmth and hospitality of its people.

he company's first cruise to Cuba will set sail from PortMiami on Oceania Cruises' Marina on March 7, 2017The company's first cruise to Cuba will set sail from PortMiami on Oceania Cruises' Marina on March 7, 2017 with select Caribbean itineraries featuring calls on Havana, including many multiple-day calls to allow guests to explore Havana and its environs. Seven Seas Mariner, of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet, will call on Havana during two cruises in April 2017. Norwegian Sky will also offer a selection of four-day voyages that will overnight in Havana in May 2017.

"We are tremendously excited to have all three of our award-winning brands receive approval from the Cuban authorities to offer cruises to Cuba from the United States," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. "As a Cuban-American and founder of Oceania Cruises, I am incredibly proud that one of Oceania's vessels will be our company's first to sail to Cuba. This is truly a dream come true for me, and I cannot wait for our loyal guests to experience the sights and sounds of my hometown of Havana and get to know its rich culture and its warm and welcoming residents."

Guests sailing on all three brands will have a selection of shore excursions to choose from, all of which offer an authentic Cuban experience that explores the people, art, history and culture of the island, which are in compliance with OFAC regulations.

Full itinerary details and on sale dates for voyages that call on Cuba will be available tomorrow for Oceania Cruises, later this month for Regent Seven Seas Cruises and on December 20 for Norwegian Cruise Line.

Seabourn Takes Delivery Of Seabourn Encore
Seabourn Cruise Line took delivery of its newest all-suite vessel, Seabourn Encore, today during an official handover ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy.

Seabourn Takes Delivery Of Seabourn Encore"We have been looking forward to this day for over two years. Seabourn Encore has become a stunning ship that will set a new standard in ultra-luxury cruising," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "I am very proud of our partnership with Fincantieri, and it has been a great pleasure to work together to transform raw materials into this incredible vessel that will make a great addition to the Seabourn fleet."

"The jewel we deliver today is the first built for Seabourn, and dry dock works for the second vessel of this new and prestigious client will start in the next few days in our shipyard in Sestri Ponente. I say this with a certain pride and a lot of satisfaction, because Seabourn represents the top range offer of the Carnival Group and Fincantieri is now identified as an absolute reference point from the market, able to offer tailor-made products to an ever wider range of customers," said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. "This gratifying result became possible thanks to the strategy stubbornly followed in the last years that has allowed us to be in the best conditions to seize the opportunities offered by the market."

Guests of Seabourn Encore will be treated to the line's extraordinary levels of personalized service, with a high staff to guest ratio. The ship carries 600 guests, based on double occupancy, who reside in 300 elegantly appointed suites each with a private verandah.

Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany who intended Seabourn Encore "to feel more like a luxury yacht," the 40,350-GRT vessel features modern design elements and innovations in keeping with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance, as well as one additional deck and new expanded public areas. The ship expands and builds on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. New features include The Retreat, a sanctuary designed for guests to relax in private cabanas, with a Spa Treatment Cabana for personalized spa services.

In addition, guests will enjoy superb cuisine, including The Grill by Thomas Keller, the new signature restaurant from three-star Michelin chef Thomas Keller that was introduced on Seabourn Quest earlier this year and will be expanded to the entire Seabourn fleet. A new restaurant for Seabourn, Sushi, makes its debut as a destination for foodies, with a unique look and feel and high-quality dishes served throughout the day.

A new production show, 'An Evening with Tim Rice,' created exclusively for Seabourn in association with Belinda King Creative Productions, will open onboard Seabourn Encore in January 2017, when she sails from Singapore on her inaugural voyage. The new Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil mindful living program also debuts on Seabourn Encore in January. Both Tim Rice and Dr. Weil will sail on the inaugural voyage.

Encore will be officially christened at a ceremony in Singapore on January 7, 2017. International recording artist and world's best-selling Soprano, Sarah Brightman, will be godmother of Seabourn Encore and officially name the ship during the celebration. The vessel will then depart on its Inaugural Voyage, the 10-day Gems of the Java Sea cruise, bound for Indonesia.

Following her inaugural sailing, Seabourn Encore will move onto a 16-day Great Barrier Reef & Gold Coast and back-to-back 16-day Australia & New Zealand voyages. The ship will then reverse the earlier 10-day Gems of the Java Sea cruise to Singapore, proceed on 16-day Jewels of India & Arabia cruise to Dubai, and finish her first season with a 19-day Arabian Gems & Holy Land voyage before ending her winter season at Athens on May 5.

Royal Caribbean's 150 Central Park Introduces New Multi-course Menu
Royal Caribbean International, in partnership with James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, has introduced a new menu highlighting artisanal ingredients at 150 Central Park onboard Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. Guests can enjoy Schwartz’s simple, elegant approach to American dining with a signature cocktail, the Central Park Martini, and choose from a variety of appetizers, entrées and dessert including a tableside cheese cart ($45 cover charge, all inclusive). Set in the ship’s lush and tropical Central Park neighborhood, the restaurant showcases the Chef’s fresh, simple and pure approach to food and wine established at Miami flagship Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, with a focus on thoughtful service and the importance of details to complete the onboard dining experience.

Royal Caribbean's 150 Central Park Introduces New Multi-course MenuHighlights include:

• A straightforward multi-course which allows the guest to explore the restaurant on multiple visits and try something new each time. Selections include lobster gnocchi with carrot butter sauce, herb salad or Bittersweet Chocolate Bourbon Tart with salted caramel, spiced pecans, cranberry chutney and chantilly cream.

• A world-class cheese cart, tuna tartare or an 18-ounce tenderloin prepared tableside.

• Chef Schwartz along with Michael’s Genuine sommelier Eric Larkee has crafted a dynamic wine program that makes for an upscale and intimate gastronomic experience

Harmony of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship with a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences found nowhere else on land or at sea. Harmony combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are known for, with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities, including imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, such as VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. From the Ultimate Abyss, a thrilling 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including Broadway’s hit musical Grease and high-diving, acrobatic performances in the iconic AquaTheater, world-class dining in venues ranging from Jamie’s Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Wonderland, a unique whimsical culinary adventure for the senses; and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for guests of all ages onboard Harmony.

Holland America Line Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Private Island Half Moon Cay
In 2017, Holland America Line will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Half Moon Cay, its award-winning private island paradise in the Bahamas. To commemorate the event two decades in the making, the premium cruise line is introducing a new Lobster Shack eatery, as well as several island updates and upgrades that were in place for the first ship call in early November.

Holland America Line Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Private Island Half Moon Cay The new Lobster Shack will be permanently located near the "I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever" bar and serve fresh grilled lobster with Caribbean coconut beans n' rice and a rum-jerk butter glaze. Pineapple and Caribbean Sofrito salsas bring out the local flavors. The lobster barbecue will be available for a nominal fee, and Rum punch and other beverages also are available for purchase at the Lobster Shack.

"For the past 20 years Half Moon Cay has been the recipient of numerous accolades ranking it the best private island in the Caribbean, and it continues to be the jewel in our Caribbean itineraries," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "We are renowned for providing top destination experiences, and all of our guests will enjoy the recent enhancements on Half Moon Cay, including the Lobster Shack that is a fantastic addition to our culinary offerings."

During summer 2016, Half Moon Cay underwent several upgrades and welcomed new additions. Water sports are a central focus of any call at the idyllic island, and guests can now get out on the water with new Sunfish sailboats, Hobie catamarans, Aqua Cycle Trikes and Aqua Trax Wave Runners. These join paddleboats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkel gear and more.

The private beach-side cabanas and two-story villas also received facelifts with new paint, and some new furnishings. The Grand Cabana — the ultimate private retreat on Half Moon Cay — received new décor as well.

Guests looking for a drink on the beach now have three more satellite locations, and the Captain Morgan on the Rocks bar received new furniture.

The horseback riding tours are among the most popular, and 14 additional horses and two more grazing pastures were added, while the changing rooms at the Ranch were enhanced. Many guests visit the island's Welcome Center, where new furniture adorns the facility.

For the 2016-17 Caribbean season, all cruises that sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, make a call at Half Moon Cay. Guests on the new ms Koningsdam, ms Eurodam, ms Zuiderdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Rotterdam, ms Veendam and ms Prinsendam will be able to visit Half Moon Cay on a variety of itineraries.

Princess Cruises Introduces Best Price Guarantee on Shore Excursions
Princess Cruises today announced its Shore Excursions Best Price Guarantee is available on thousands of the award-winning tours in ports the cruise line visits worldwide. Today the program launches fleetwide and guarantees if guests find the same shore excursion elsewhere at a lower price, they will receive 110 percent of the difference in the form of non-refundable onboard credit.

Princess Cruises Introduces Best Price Guarantee on Shore Excursions"Our new Best Price Guarantee on shore excursions gives guests satisfaction that they are receiving competitive and fair pricing while enjoying an exceptional experience ashore," said Bruce Krumrine, vice president of shore excursions for Princess Cruises. "We find our guests rate their overall cruise vacation experience higher when they take our shore excursions because we handle every detail for them so they can easily explore the world and take home lifelong memories of the places they visit."

The new Best Price Guarantee is being announced to Princess guests through pre-cruise e-mails and on Princess.com and is available to guests who book their excursions with Princess pre-cruise. If guests find an equivalent shore excursion at a lower price, the request can be submitted at least seven days prior to the sailing date to shoreexcursions@princesscruises.com for review by the Shore Excursion customer service team. Within two business days, guests will be notified if their request meets the Best Price Guarantee criteria. If it does, 110 percent of the price difference will be applied in the form of a non-refundable onboard credit.

The Best Price Guarantee only applies to shore excursions that are advertised with pricing and publicly available. It applies to all shore excursions, with the exception of Asia, Southeast Asia and Japan ports, and excludes private vehicle and driver excursions in ports worldwide.

Princess Cruises was recently awarded "Best Cruise Ship Excursions" by Global Traveler Magazine and "Best Cruise Line for Shore Excursions" in the 2016 Cruise Critic Editors' Picks awards. The cruise line offers guests more than 4,000 shore excursions in 360 destinations around the globe, on more than 150 itineraries.

Discovery and Animal Planet shore excursions are available as part of the cruise line's Discovery at Sea program, an exclusive partnership designed to create memorable vacation experiences for the whole family. Discovery and Animal Planet Exclusive Tours are unique tours that cannot be booked independently and are available only through Princess Cruises. Now more than 1,000 Discovery and Animal Planet tours are available worldwide.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 51.63 - 0.83%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 81.05 - 0.55%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.23 - 1.33
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 40.64 + 1.35%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ocean liner and cruise ship has the distinction of having sailed with one, two and three funnels over her long career?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system, and what year did that ship enter service?

Answer - The first cruise ship to be fitted with a podded proplusion system was Carnival Cruise Lines' Elation (number 491), and was delivered in February 1998 from MasaYards in Helsinki, Finland.
courtesy of Steve Perry, Miami, Florida USA


Cruise News - November 28, 2016

Carnival Drops Fathom Brand
Carnival Corp. has abandoned its Fathom brand social impact cruising with the return of the Adonia to Carnival’s P&O Cruses fleet in June next year. The 704-passenger vessel has been sailing weeklong voyages to the Dominican Republic and Cuba since late April.

Carnival Dumps Fathom Brand CruisesThe Fathom name will live on through the branded experience of offering volunteer activities as shore excursions on other cruise lines. “We feel this is a strategy to evolve Fathom from a single ship to have even more of our guests experience Fathom through all of our brands,” said Carnival chief communications officer Roger Frizzell.

Fathom remains the only cruise line with permission from Cuba to sail from the U.S. at this time. Carnival has asked officials in Cuba for permission to sail there with other brands starting in June.

A Carnival Corp. spokesman said: "We have requested approval from Cuba to sail there with our other brands beginning in June 2017. We plan to continue sailing to Cuba for many years to come based on the success of our first cruises to the country which have proven to extremely successful." Tara Russell will remain president of Fathom.

The line’s main goal was to do good by “driving, over time, real meaningful change for the better in a community” and was expected to entice people who had not cruised before.

Earlier this month Carnival announced that it planned to roll out Fathom-branded shore excursions on lines that visit Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. Frizzell said relationships with organizations on the ground there would continue and evolve.

Carnival Vista Launches Year-Round Service From PortMiami
PortMiami welcomed Carnival Cruise Line's newest, largest and most innovative ship, Carnival Vista, when it arrived yesterday to kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day cruises to the Caribbean.

Carnival Vista Launches Year-Round Service From PortMiamiTo officially welcome Carnival Vista to its Miami homeport, Carnival Vista Captain Stefano Battinelli and PortMiami Assistant Director Fred Wong participated in a traditional maritime plaque exchange prior to the ship's inaugural departure from Miami.

As the line's newest ship, Carnival Vista takes cruising to new heights, introducing groundbreaking features such as SkyRide, a suspended open-air cycling experience; the world's first IMAX Theatre on a ship; Kaleid-O-Slide, the line's first water tube slide, part of the ship's massive WaterWorks aqua park; and the RedFrog Pub & Brewery featuring the first brewery on a North American-based cruise ship.

"Miami has been our home since our company's inception in 1972 and homeporting the new Carnival Vista here not only provides consumers with a convenient homeport with renovated facilities and numerous operational enhancements but speaks volumes about our confidence in growing this important market," and said Christine Duffy, Carnival's president.

"We are thankful for Carnival Cruise Line's continued growth at PortMiami," said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. "The arrival of new and innovative cruise ships such as Carnival Vista helps solidify our place as a global hub for travel and tourism, vital to the continual growth and development of our community."

"It's an exciting day at PortMiami," said PortMiami Director/CEO Juan M. Kuryla. "There's no doubt that the arrival of the Carnival Vista, Carnival Cruise Line's newest and largest cruise ship, represents a new vacation option for passengers sailing out of the Cruise Capital of the World. We're grateful to have this opportunity, and we look forward to continue strengthening our partnership with Carnival," he added.

Carnival Vista kicked off its new schedule from PortMiami with a special six-day cruise to Grand Turk, Ocho Rios and Nassau that departed yesterday. The ship will then launch a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day cruises beginning with an eight-day voyage departing Dec. 3, 2016. Six-day cruises feature Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, while a mix of different eight-day itineraries visit some of the Caribbean's most sought-after destinations, including Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and La Romana (Dominican Republic).

The ship will also offer a combination of one-time voyages, including a five-day cruise departing Dec. 11 and seven-day voyages departing Dec. 17 and 24, 2016, that offer an exciting selection of ports including the Caribbean's newest destination, Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, as well as Mahogany Bay, Grand Turk, Belize, San Juan, St. Thomas and Cozumel, depending on the itinerary.

In addition to visiting breathtaking Caribbean destinations, guests can experience all the Carnival Vista has to offer – from the colorful Havana area with tropics-inspired staterooms and suites and Family Harbor with special accommodations and a new family concierge to delicious choices like Seafood Shack and new al fresco options at the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and Cherry On Top, featuring a mixed-to-order premium ice cream bar.

Oceanwide Expeditions Announces New Advanced Polar Vessel HONDIUS
Due to an increased demand polar cruises, Oceanwide Expeditions announced that it has commissioned the building of an innovative 180-passenger vessel. The ship, called the Hondius, will be the strongest ice-strengthened vessel in the Polar regions. It is being built in Croatia by shipbuilder Brodosplit and will be available to customers in 2019.

Oceanwide Expeditions Announces New Advanced Polar Vessel HONDIUS"We currently sail with our ice-strengthened 116-passenger vessels Plancius and Ortelius, and the Hondius will give us the opportunity to accommodate more travelers, to grow as a company, and to offer new, innovative products in the Polar regions," says Oceanwide Expeditions' CEO, Michel van Gessel. "The name Hondius follows our custom to name our ships for celebrated Dutch-Flemish cartographers who continue to inspire us as we carry on their passion for exploration and discovery."

Hondius was specially designed to support and serve Oceanwide's exploratory programs and activity-based shore excursions in the Arctic and Antarctica. It will be rated Polar Class 6, similar to the previous Finnish-Swedish ice-class notation 1A-super. A speedy zodiac embarkation is guaranteed, with two separate gangways and an indoor platform that can be used for outdoor activities such as kayaking. While Hondius is at anchor during passenger excursions, it can drift or remain in position with the support of the bow and stern thrusters. One deck on board is reserved for an observation lounge, with a separate lecture room in order to offer simultaneous or multilingual lectures and presentations.

The vessel size will be 107 meters (350 feet) long, with a breadth of 17.6 meters (58 feet). It will be equipped with two main engines for a total of 4,200 kW, generating a speed of 15 knots.

m/v Hondius will offer passengers an advanced hotel standard of quarters, as well as a variety of cabin categories, from spacious suites and superiors to twin and quadruple cabins. Guests will be accommodated in the following configurations: 1 spacious suite (cabin size 33 m2), 6 suites with balcony (cabin size: 29 m2), 8 superior cabins with balcony (cabin size: 22 m2), 19 twin deluxe cabins, (cabin size: 22 m2), 14 twin-window cabins (cabin sizes: 14 to 16 m2), 31 twin porthole cabins, 2 triple porthole cabins and 4 quadruple porthole cabins (cabin sizes of the porthole cabins vary from 13 to 16 m2).

"While traveling with Hondius, our passengers will recognize our distinctive Oceanwide approach -- a pleasant, informal atmosphere onboard, with a main focus on in-depth nature and wildlife programs and related shore activities," said Van Gessel.

Over the years, Oceanwide Expeditions has developed a variety of outdoor activities and offers a dedicated Basecamp program that highlights free activities such as camping, kayaking, shore excursions including snowshoeing, mountaineering, zodiac cruises, scuba diving, and a photography workshop.

'BBC Earth Experiences' Rolling Out Across Holland America Line Fleet
Guests on Holland America Line ships can now experience more of the world's natural wonders, test their knowledge of our planet and participate in some family-friendly competition through the cruise line's exclusive partnership with BBC Earth. These unique performances and interactive programs currently are available on ms Koningsdam, ms Noordam, ms Rotterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Zuiderdam and ms Eurodam and will be rolled out to the rest of the fleet (except ms Prinsendam) by March 2017.

BBC Earth Experiences Rolling Out Across Holland America Line FleetThe new offerings immerse guests in BBC Earth's award-winning, world-class captivating experiences. A highlight is "Frozen Planet Live," a groundbreaking concert based on the BBC Earth "Frozen Planet" television series. "Frozen Planet Live," on each ship's main stage, features live musicians playing a specially orchestrated musical score by award-winning composer George Fenton as the images unfold on screen. Guests are taken on an emotional and evocative journey into the wilderness of the polar regions, where life thrives in the most extraordinary conditions. Additional activities include "Inside Earth" documentary films, gameshows, trivia, children's activities and BBC Earth feature cruises.

"Since announcing the BBC Earth partnership, we have been looking forward to launching the programming on board; and now that it's rolling out across the fleet it's even more engaging and visually powerful than we imagined," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Our guests are destination seekers with a desire to learn more and know more when they are cruising with us. 'BBC Earth Experiences' bring them to the most remote corners of the world in an incredibly innovative way."

Guests wanting to test their knowledge can participate in the fun and entertaining "What on Earth!" family game show, bringing the entire world of BBC Earth to life in a new format. This show uncovers all that's weird, wonderful and obscure in our natural world. Teams compete against each other on the main stage, guessing the location in "Where on Earth!", uncovering content hidden beneath puzzles in "What on Earth!", and working out which animal makes that sound in "Who on Earth!" "Trivia from Earth" is an informal, team-based competitive quiz that allows guests to show off their natural history knowledge and provides guests with entertaining new facts.

Junior cruisers can get in on the adventure as well with BBC Earth's countdown fact shows, specially developed "BBC Earth for Club HAL Tweens." Kids will discover amazing facts about animals, dinosaurs and sea creatures.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 52.06 + 1.56%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 81.50 - 1.42%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.26 - 0.44
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 40.01 + 1.29%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system, and what year did that ship enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Before selecting the former France for conversion into the cruise ship Norway, NCL examined three other 900 ft + former liners. Name at least two of the three former liners they did not select.

Answer - NCL looked at, but did not pick RAFFAELLO and MICHELANGELO recently retired from the Italian Line. They also looked at the UNITED STATES.
courtesy of Dirk vanHeiningen


Cruise News - November 21, 2016

With a Single Cut of Steel, Celebrity Cruises has the Edge
The next generation of cruise ships moves from concept to construction today, as the first piece of steel is cut at the STX France shipyard for Celebrity Cruises' newest — and boldest — ship.

Celebrity Cruises continues to be a trailblazer in modern luxury travel as President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo cuts the first piece of steel for Celebrity Edge, the first ship of its class.The ship will be called "Celebrity Edge," befitting the many daring design advances and innovations of Celebrity's first new ship class since 2008. The modern luxury cruise line is also announcing today the name of Edge's sister ship, "Celebrity Beyond," signaling the incredible experience guests can expect onboard Celebrity Edge and the entire Edge Class, changing the way travelers see the world.

"Edge Class is destined to be a trailblazer in modern luxury travel," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. "The new ships will be on the cutting edge of innovation and the leading edge of design, so the ship names are spot on and offer a sense of how Celebrity Cruises is looking into the future."

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Celebrity's President and CEO, said: "We set the bar high for the architects and designers on Edge class, and we were rewarded with a stunning design. Cutting the ship's first piece of steel is the traditional first step in the shipbuilding process, and I'm excited to see our dreams turn into reality over the next 24 months."

She added: "We are excited to reveal more details soon, and travelers, trade partners and enthusiasts alike will not be disappointed — this ship is going to be amazing."

Laurent Castaing, General Manager STX France said: "Everyone involved in Edge has embraced the challenge of making this new class of ships dramatic and special, and we take great pride in helping Celebrity Cruises take such a remarkable step forward in ship design."

The company expects delivery of Celebrity Edge in Fall 2018. Celebrity Beyond is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2020, and the third and fourth Edge Class ships in Fall 2021 and Fall 2022, respectively.

Carnival Valor to Move to Galveston, Carnival Liberty to be Based in Port Canaveral Beginning January 2017
The cruise ship Carnival Liberty, which is homeported in Galveston, Texas, is experiencing a technical issue which is affecting the ship’s maximum cruising speed. The issue is only affecting the ship’s speed and all other systems are operating normally. The ship is capable of operating cruises at reduced maximum speeds while Carnival’s technical team, together with outside experts, continues to work to fully resolve the problem.

Carnival Valor to Move to Galveston, Carnival Liberty to be Based in Port Canaveral Beginning January 2017In light of the above, the remainder of Carnival Liberty’s cruises through the month of November will have modified itineraries (detailed below). Following these voyages, the ship will go into a previously scheduled drydock then reposition to Port Canaveral, Florida to operate cruises from that port beginning December 15.

This change is being made since Carnival Valor is better suited to operate at the higher speeds required for the four and five-day Mexico itineraries from Galveston while Carnival Liberty is well equipped to handle shorter duration cruises from Central Florida.

Built only one year apart, Carnival Valor and Carnival Liberty are sister ships with similar accommodations, public venues and Fun Ship 2.0 features including Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, the RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.

Carnival Liberty’s modified cruises from Galveston for the balance of November are as follows:

• 14 CRUISE – The Nov. 14 five-day departure will include an overnight call in Cozumel (the call at Progreso has been cancelled). The ship’s arrival back into Galveston on Nov. 19 will be delayed until later in the day. Guests sailing on this voyage will receive a $50 per person credit to their shipboard accounts and a 25 percent discount on a future Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

• 19 CRUISE: The Nov. 19 seven-day cruise will include stops in Cozumel and Costa Maya (the calls in Falmouth, Jamaica and Grand Cayman have been cancelled). The ship’s departure time will be 10:00pm for this cruise. Guests sailing on this voyage will receive a $50 per person credit to their shipboard accounts and a 25 percent discount on a future Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

• 26 CRUISE – The Nov. 26 five-day departure will include an overnight call in Cozumel (the call at Progreso has been cancelled). The ship’s arrival back into Galveston on Dec. 1 will be delayed until later in the day. Guests sailing on this voyage will receive a $50 per person credit to their shipboard accounts and a 25 percent discount on a future Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

In addition, one Carnival Valor voyage, the four-day cruise from Port Canaveral departing Dec. 11, will need to be shortened to allow sufficient time for the ship to transit to Galveston:

• The scheduled December 11 four-day cruise from Port Canaveral on Carnival Valor will be shortened to a three-day cruise departing on December 11. The cruise will visit Freeport and Nassau which were the scheduled ports on the four-day cruise. Guests sailing on this voyage will receive a one day pro-rated refund of cruise fare and a $25 per person credit to their shipboard account. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

For guests on Carnival Liberty being transferred to Carnival Valor and vice versa, the cruise line will automatically transfer the reservations. Affected sailings are now temporarily closed in the system as the reservations team prepares to make the necessary changes. This work is expected to be completed by the end of November at which point new confirmations will be sent to all guests and they will again be able to access their reservations. Fly2Fun flights, transfers and other vacation components such as dining choices, pre-paid gratuities, shore excursions, Fun Shop items and Spa reservations will be maintained as originally booked.

Princess Announces Largest Ever Fall Deployment in Canada & New England
The 2018 Canada & New England cruise season offered by Princess Cruises showcases the fall foliage to iconic destinations along the east coast and offers the largest deployment ever with two of the cruise line's newest ships – Regal Princess and Royal Princess.

Princess Announces Largest Ever Fall Deployment in Canada & New EnglandThe 3,560-guest Regal Princess and Royal Princess, sailing for the first time together departing from New York and Quebec, offer 10 cruise departures on four unique itineraries, visiting 12 destinations in New England and Canada.

"We're excited to bring two of our newest ships to Canada & New England in 2018, so that more guests can enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage and famed destinations and landmarks in this region," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.

All 2018 Canada/New England cruises are open for sale on December 1. Highlights include:

• Royal Princess makes her maiden 10- to 11-day voyages out of Quebec and New York featuring overnight stays in Quebec on every voyage. These cruises visit Newport, Boston, Portland, Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy), Halifax, Sydney (Cape Breton Island), Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) and Quebec. The 11-day cruises include an overnight stay in Boston. Cruises depart Sept. 25; Oct. 5 and 16.

• In addition, Royal Princess offers a 14-day Canada & Colonial America cruise from Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale featuring calls in Port Saguenay (scenic cruising of the Saguenay River), Sydney (Cape Breton Island), Halifax, Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy), Bar Harbor (for Acadia National Park), Boston, Newport, New York and Norfolk (for Williamsburg and Jamestown). This cruise departs on Oct. 26.

• Regal Princess sails on seven-day cruises roundtrip from New York, visiting Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor (for Acadia National Park), Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy) and Halifax. Cruises depart Sept. 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13 and 20.

• A five-day Canadian Atlantic Provinces Getaway out of New York is also being offered aboard Regal Princess, visiting Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy) and Halifax. This voyage departs on Oct. 27.

To further enhance guests' cruise vacations, Princess Cruises is pleased to offer a choice of two cruisetours on the East Coast to see the sites of colonial America or Niagara Falls and the best of Eastern Canada:

• Historic America Cruisetour takes guests to such important places as Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate, Colonial Williamsburg, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the Gettysburg Battlefield.

The Maple Explorer Cruisetour brings guests to beautiful Niagra Falls; exciting cities like the capital of Ottawa and French-flavored Montreal with guided tours of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, dazzling cathedrals and the historic 19th century Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests will also be treated to a lovely cruise through the picturesque Thousand Islands.

King of Chinese Pop" Wang Leehom named Godfather of Norwegian Joy
Arriving in Summer 2017 with home ports in Shanghai and Beijing (Tianjin), Norwegian Joy will be Norwegian Cruise Line's first purpose- built ship for the Chinese market and designed to deliver on the promise that guests will enjoy 'First Class at Sea’ experiences.

King of Chinese Pop Wang Leehom named Godfather of Norwegian JoyAlong with serving as Godfather of Norwegian Joy, Leehom will also represent NCL China as its brand ambassador, introducing Norwegian Cruise Line’s unparalleled cruise experience to Chinese consumers through a variety of platforms, including television and radio commercial campaigns, as well as on social media. Wang Leehom will become the first Chinese Godfather of any cruise ship brand, joining the likes of renowned hip hop artist, Pitbull, Godfather of Norwegian’s most recent ship, the Miami-based Norwegian Escape. Leehom’s role will include a number of special appearances including the traditional role of christening Norwegian Joy at the ship’s inauguration ceremony in Summer 2017, as well as other exciting roles at the launch event and beyond.

A Chinese-American singer songwriter, music producer, actor, and film director, Wang Leehom is known as the “King of Chinese Pop” for his wide range of musical styles blending pop, rock, jazz, hip-hop, R&B, classical and traditional Chinese music. His musical collaborations have included work with international stars including Tony Bennett, Avicii, Usher, Lang Lang, and JJ Lin. He has performed in over 100 cities worldwide in his career. Leehom’s film career includes a starring role in Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution.

As a bridge between Eastern and Western worlds, Wang Leehom is a worldwide cultural ambassador, with a platform of more than 60 million social media followers.

Leehom’s appointment as Godfather displays Norwegian Joy’s vision of delivering the best of the Norwegian Cruise Line brand to China, while also being customized to the Chinese traveler.

“I'm honored to have the opportunity to share the cruising lifestyle with Chinese guests as Godfather of Norwegian Joy. Cruising is an exciting way of experiencing travel and leisure that I'm thrilled to be sharing with China.” said Wang Leehom.

“As a Chinese star with a high international profile, connecting East and West through his music and movies, Leehom is the perfect Godfather for Norwegian Joy, a ship custom designed for our Chinese guests that also brings the best of the East and West together. We are thrilled to be working with him as a partner to introduce the NCL ‘First Class at Sea’ cruising experience to China next summer,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and Chief Executive Officer Frank J. Del Rio.

“We are honored and excited to have Wang Leehom as the Godfather of our spectacular new premium vessel Norwegian Joy, and as a brand ambassador for NCL in China. Leehom is a highly accomplished artist and family man that we are proud to partner with in China and beyond.” said Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China President, David J. Herrera.

Princess Cruises Resumes Summer Caribbean Cruises in 2018
For the first time in four years, Princess Cruises will offer Summer Caribbean cruises including Panama Canal transits in 2018. The 3,192-guest Caribbean Princess returns to sail on a full summer season of voyages ranging from seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean to a 20-day Caribbean and Panama Canal Explorer. All Summer Caribbean cruises are open for sale Dec. 1.

Princess Cruises Resumes Summer Caribbean Cruises in 2018The 2018 April to October summer program features 47 departures, roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, including eight unique itineraries visiting 23 destinations in 22 countries. In addition, four ports offer late night stays so guests have more time to explore the evening offerings these destinations have to offer.

New for 2018, 20-day Caribbean and Panama Explorer voyages combine a 10-day Panama cruise and a 10-day Southern Caribbean Medley or Eastern Caribbean Voyager cruise. Princess Cruises takes more guests through this engineering marvel than other cruise line.

"Summertime is the prime vacation season for most Americans and we're happy to offer the Caribbean in 2018," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "We have award-winning itineraries of various lengths so families, honeymooners, couples, friends and travelers alike can get away to explore new places, reconnect with one another and ultimately 'come back new' with Princess."

Caribbean cruise highlights for Summer Caribbean 2018, roundtrip out of Ft. Lauderdale, include:

Eastern Caribbean (7 days) – Guests can enjoy an adventurous week in the Caribbean, including calls at the ports of Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Grand Turk or Amber Cove with a multitude of water activities to choose from. Sailings depart May 26; June 9, 23; July 7, 21; August 4, 18; and September 1.

Western Caribbean (7 days) – Alternating with the Eastern Caribbean voyages, this itinerary features calls at Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Roatan and Belize highlighting the Mayan culture and history of the region. Caribbean Princess sets sail on this route on May 19; June 2, 16, 30; July 14, 28; and August 11, 25.

Guests can combine these popular seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages, for a 14-day Caribbean East/West Adventure.

Southern Caribbean (8 days) – For a more in-depth experience, one Southern Caribbean cruise will be offered with stops in Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire; departs May 11.

Eastern Caribbean Voyager (10 days) – For more relaxation time, guests will enjoy an extended Eastern Caribbean cruise, visiting Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts. Cruises depart May 1 and September 28.

Southern Caribbean Medley (10 days) – For those looking for deeper exploration, guests can travel to the beautiful beaches in the Southern Caribbean, including Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Curacao. Departures on April 11; September 8 and October 18.

Panama Canal with Costa Rica (10 days) – Transiting the new Agua Clara Locks with a Panama Canal partial transit, including a day of scenic cruising through Gatun Lake, guests will also visit Grand Cayman, Cartagena, Colon, Costa Rica (Límon) and Falmouth (Jamaica). Sailings depart April 1, 21; Sept. 18; and Oct. 8.

Guests can combine the cruise line's signature 10-day Panama Canal voyage with the 10-day Southern Caribbean Medley or Eastern Caribbean Voyager for the ultimate 20-day cruise vacation.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 51.26 + 0.95%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 82.67 - 1.65%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.27 + 1.34%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 39.59 - 4.23%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Before selecting the former France for conversion into the cruise ship Norway, NCL examined three other 900 ft + former liners. Name at least two of the three former liners they did not select.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
It's been a long time since a cruise ship or ocean liner was built in a United States ship yard. The last pair was built in the 1950's. What were the names of these ships and what line did they sail for?

Answer - Argentina and Brazil first sailed for the McCormick Line, but both had many incarnations including Veendam and Volendam for HAL. Brazil served as the campus for The Semester at Sea program until May of 2004. My older two children spent a semester aboard in 2000 and 2002
courtesy of William Carpi


FONT CLASS="text_headline">Cruise News - November 14, 2016

Harmony Of The Seas Officially Named
Royal Caribbean International celebrated the homecoming of Harmony of the Seas with a spectacular naming ceremony, befitting the world’s largest cruise ship. Hosting the highly-anticipated ceremony was Brittany Affolter from Teach For America Miami-Dade, who was selected as Godmother of Harmony of the Seas for her work in inspiring South Florida’s next generation to dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo. Royal Caribbean conducted a six-week search and received nearly one thousand nominees for the honor usually reserved for celebrities and royalty. To further welcome the ship to her new homeport in South Florida, singer-songwriter and Miami native Jon Secada, took center stage, performing some of his greatest hits.

Harmony Of The Seas Officially NamedJoining sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas on the east coast of Florida – which are homeported in Port Canaveral and Port Everglades respectively – Harmony offers seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, providing new adventures from the islands of the Caribbean to the shores of Mexico.

Harmony of the Seas features a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences, giving adventure-seeking travelers the vacation of a lifetime. Nowhere else on land or at sea can travelers find such imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, including VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. Harmony combines the iconic seven-neighborhood concept that sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are known for, with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities and offerings that will appeal to guests of all ages.

From the Ultimate Abyss, a dramatic 10-story-tall slide, to jaw-dropping high diving performances in the ship’s trademark AquaTheater, sophisticated dining in venues ranging from Jamie’s Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Royal Caribbean’s whimsical restaurant Wonderland, which is a unique culinary adventure for the senses, and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for everyone onboard Harmony of the Seas.

Harmony of the Seas spans 16 guest decks, encompasses 226,963 gross registered tons, carries 5,497 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,747 staterooms.

Carnival Fantasy Kicks Off Four- And Five-Day Cruise Schedule From Alabama
Carnival Fantasy arrived at its new homeport of Mobile, Ala., today to launch a schedule of year-round four- and five-day cruises to Mexico.

Carnival Fantasy Kicks Off Four- And Five-Day Cruise Schedule From AlabamaThe ship's arrival was marked with a special invitation-only event that included a competition for charity featuring Carnival President Christine Duffy, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, President of the Mobile City Council Gina Gregory, and Carnival Fantasy Captain Bruno Palomba, as well as a traditional maritime plaque exchange between cruise line and port officials. The competition, part of Carnival's popular Hasbro, The Game Show activities, included a $20,000 donation each to the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Alabama and Feeding the Gulf Coast.

Following the event, the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy departs Mobile this afternoon on a sold-out five-day cruise to Cozumel and Progreso, kicking off a year-long schedule of four- and five-day cruises to these stunning Mexican ports.

"With its Southern charm, excellent terminal facilities and easy-to-reach location, Mobile is a terrific new addition to Carnival's homeport lineup and we're delighted to offer these convenient and affordable cruises to Mexico's most popular ports of call," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "From Mayor Sandy Stimpson and everyone at the City of Mobile to the Alabama Cruise Terminal team and the entire Mobile community, we are greatly appreciative for their partnership and the very warm welcome," she added.

"We are pleased and excited to welcome Carnival Cruise Lines back to the City of Mobile," said Mayor Sandy Stimpson. "This is a moment we've been working toward since the day we took office. It represents a win for our city, a win for Carnival and most of all a win for the thousands of people who can once again enjoy a great cruise out of one of America's greatest cities."

Carnival Fantasy's four-day "long weekend" itinerary departs Thursdays, calling at Cozumel. Five-day itineraries depart Monday and Saturdays, visiting Cozumel and Costa Maya or Progreso.

Each of these destinations is known for beautiful white-sand beaches, interesting historical sites and attractions, and excellent snorkeling, scuba diving and watersports. During the day-long call at Progreso, guests have the opportunity to visit Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, while guests visiting Cozumel can check out ancient Mayan ruins or enjoy the destination's wide range of shopping and dining experiences. At Costa Maya, guests can explore the centuries-old Chacchoben ruins or visit the Lost Mayan Kingdom, a multi-million-dollar water-themed attraction featuring spectacular slides, an elaborate lazy river, a suspended ropes course that spans the property and more.

Carnival Fantasy recently underwent an extensive dry dock during which it received many of the fleet's latest food and beverage innovations. These include Guy's Burger Joint, a complimentary poolside dining venue serving hand-crafted burgers and fries created by the popular chef and restaurateur, all enjoyed amid interiors celebrating Fieri's California roots and love of car culture.

Located adjacent to Guy's Burger Joint is BlueIguana Cantina offering authentic handmade burritos and tacos along with an elaborate toppings and salsa bar. Also poolside is the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Rum Bar, offering the region's top rums and beers, as well as the BlueIguana Tequila Bar serving Mexican beers, margaritas and other frosty libations.

Carnival Fantasy features a 12,000-square-foot spa, a WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister slide and a kiddie splash zone, and a Serenity adults-only retreat, as well as fun, supervised programs for kids ages 2-17, full casino gambling and a wide array of additional dining options.

Celebrity Offers New One of a Kind Experience in the Galapagos
Magnificent views, pristine environments and pre-historic iguanas and blue-footed boobies are just a few things you'll find when sailing the Galapagos Islands with Celebrity Cruises. Bookable now for sailings beginning March 25, 2017, adventure seekers will be able to sail onboard the beautiful Celebrity Xploration, experiencing the Galapagos Islands through a modern luxury lens. Following its recent upgrade, which was completed on Oct. 16, 2016, the state-of-the-art, 16-guest intimate catamaran emerged from drydock equipped with Celebrity’s signature services and amenities and will offer two alternating, unique itineraries. This is the Celebrity Distinction.

Celebrity Offers New One of a Kind Experience in the GalapagosGuests can now select accommodations in one of the beautiful, catamaran-style ship's eight luxurious staterooms and junior suites; each offering memorable views as well as upgraded premium mattresses and pillows, plush bedding, LCD TVs and internet service. Newly upgraded public areas include a vast, refreshed bar in the Al Fresco outdoor grill area; modernized, sophisticated dining room; climate controlled wine storage for each varietal; revitalized sun deck; and renovated main lounge and boutique area featuring two 65-inch TVs.

"A distinct unparalleled, all-inclusive experience like the Galapagos journey warrants a uniquely intimate ship, and that's Celebrity Xploration. The ship's design and layout highlights stunning views, and while our guests are taking in those breathtaking views, they will also enjoy a best-in-class, modern luxury experience," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "This ship is also perfect for multi-generational families or those looking to charter a sailing for a life changing vacation."

Explore the natural wonders of the Galapagos onboard this intimate ship. As part of the truly all-inclusive Galapagos experience, all Celebrity Xploration cruises will offer enthralling shore excursions led by expert naturalists and feature fresh regional seafood and fish with menus inspired by Celebrity’s Michelin-starred chef. In addition, guests will also enjoy regional coffee, spirits, chocolate and other delights, all provided by the best staff at sea. There is truly something for everybody onboard.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 50.78 + 3.65%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 84.06 + 9.91%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.24 + 0.45%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 41.34 + 9.28%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
It's been a long time since a cruise ship or ocean liner was built in a United States ship yard. The last pair was built in the 1950's. What were the names of these ships and what line did they sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which famous liner came to the assistance of the Andrea Doria after she was struck by the Swedish liner Stockholm in 1956?

Answer - The French Line transatlantic liner "Ile de France" came to the rescue after the collision between the Italian liner "Andrea Doria" and the Swedish Liner "Stockholm" on July 25, 1956. The collision occured in fog off the Nantucket Shoals.
courtesy of Larry MacDonald


Cruise News - November 7, 2016

World's Three Largest Cruise Ships Meet For The First Time At Sea
Royal Caribbean International's Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and the new Harmony of the Seas, struck a chord today, greeting each other at sea for the first and possibly only time. In a meeting of unprecedented proportions, the three record-breaking sisters came together to celebrate the U.S. arrival of Harmony of the Seas on the eve of the ship's debut in her new permanent homeport of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Royal Caribbean International's Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and the new Harmony of the SeasThe Oasis-class ships are architectural and engineering marvels, boasting industry-changing and unexpected onboard experiences. Each ship features seven themed neighborhoods – a distinctive feature of the Oasis-class ships – and a number of spectacular features, adventures and thrills, including the lush and tranquil Central Park with nearly 12,000 plants and trees, FlowRider surf simulators; a thrilling zip line 82 foot long that races guests nine-decks in the air, luxurious multi-level loft suites with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, the outdoor AquaTheater that hosts dazzling high-diving, aquatic and acrobatic performances, a Boardwalk with a hand-carved carousel, and The Rising Tide Bar, the first moving bar at sea.

The newest and youngest of the three ships, Harmony of the Seas, officially claimed the title of world’s largest cruise ship, beating her sisters by a mere foot in length and nearly 1,700 gross registered tons. The ship features a bold lineup of new thrilling experiences, imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, including VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. Harmony combines the iconic seven neighborhood concept with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities and offerings that will appeal to guests of all ages. From The Ultimate Abyss, a dramatic 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including Broadway’s hit musical Grease, sophisticated dining in venues ranging from Jamie’s Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Royal Caribbean’s whimsical restaurant Wonderland, which is a unique culinary adventure for the senses, and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for everyone onboard Harmony of the Seas.

Carnival Corporation to Partner with INTERPOL for Enhanced Security Screening
Carnival Corporation today announced it will be the first maritime company to partner with INTERPOL for advanced security screening across its global operations, including its 10 brands and fleet of 101 ships that annually carry nearly 11 million passengers, or about half the global cruise market, to more than 700 ports around the world.

Mick O'Connell, director of operational support and analysis for INTERPOL, presents at INTERPOL's General AssemblyCarnival Corporation received approval today to integrate its global passenger check-in process with INTERPOL'S I-Checkit system, a secure method for screening travel document information against INTERPOL's Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database, containing over 69 million records from 175 countries.

The approval resulted from a resolution vote held today in Bali, Indonesia, at INTERPOL'S General Assembly, the annual meeting of 190 member countries that comprise the world's largest international police organization.

Today's news follows a three-month I-Checkit pilot program on four of Carnival Corporation's Princess Cruises brand ships. The trial included 34,000 travel documents that were successfully checked against the SLTD database to demonstrate the system's ability to enhance security for the global cruise industry.

The full results of the pilot program were presented to INTERPOL's General Assembly today prior to its member countries passing an official resolution that enables Carnival Corporation to expand its I-Checkit deployment among its 10 cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Its brands include Carnival Cruise Line, Fathom, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK).

Carnival Corporation and INTERPOL can now work together on an expanded partnership agreement to cover a phased rollout of the I-Checkit system across its brands. By partnering with INTERPOL on a global integration of I-Checkit technology, Carnival Corporation will further strengthen its leading safety and security protocols by creating a single global standard for security screening used throughout its ports of call.

"One of our top priorities at Carnival Corporation is the safety and security of our guests, our crew and our ships," said Bill Burke, chief maritime officer for Carnival Corporation and retired Vice Admiral of the U.S. Navy. "As the world's largest cruise company carrying hundreds of thousands of daily passengers, having a highly effective and efficient security screening process is a crucial part of how we serve our guests every day. Partnering with INTERPOL enables us to seamlessly enhance security across our global fleet while also maintaining our commitment to providing our guests with a great vacation experience. This is another important step for our company and industry as we continue taking proactive measures to enhance the safety and security of our passengers and crew members."

As Carnival Corporation expands I-Checkit globally, the company's brands will be able to automatically query the SLTD database before and during the boarding process to see if any passenger travel documents have been reported lost or stolen. To ensure privacy and security, no personal data is accessed or transmitted in this process.

"With its real-time secure global alert system, criminal intelligence potential and compliance framework, I-Checkit provides an invaluable preventative and investigative capability for global policing," said Michael O'Connell, director of INTERPOL's operational support and analysis directorate and head of the I-Checkit program. "I-Checkit's initiative with Carnival Corporation offers an additional layer of safety in the travel sector by creating an international standard for security screening."

Carnival Vista's U.S. Arrival And Naming Ceremony Celebrated With Shipboard Concert For Military Families
To celebrate the U.S. arrival of its newest, largest and most innovative ship, Carnival Cruise Line held an overnight gala event today in New York featuring a concert for Operation Homefront military families by the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year and seven-time GRAMMY award-winning country music super star Carrie Underwood.

The event also included the ship's official naming ceremony with Miss USA Deshauna Barber – the first woman serving in the U.S. military to hold the title -- presiding over the ceremonies as godmother and releasing the ceremonial bottle of champagne that smashed over the hull of the massive 133,500-ton ship. In addition to the concert, the festivities included overnight accommodations, meals, activities and entertainment for hundreds of military families.

Country music artist Carrie Underwood performs aboard the new Carnival Vista Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, in New York CityThe festivities represent the culmination of Honor.Family.Fun., Carnival's year-long celebration to support Operation Homefront and help the organization fulfill its mission of building strong, stable, and secure military families.

"Carnival Cruise Line carries more active and retired military personnel and I couldn't think of a better way to introduce this spectacular vessel than by honoring and celebrating the sacrifices of our Armed Forces personnel," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Deshauna is the ideal candidate to serve as Carnival Vista's godmother, embodying the spirit of commitment and sacrifice of those who protect our freedoms each and every day."

Underwood performed an hour-long set for hundreds of military personnel and their families, many of whom were given the chance of a lifetime to meet the artist during various meet and greet opportunities during stops along her Storyteller Tour, and were invited to attend the festivities aboard Carnival Vista.

"It was truly an honor to perform aboard Carnival Vista today and celebrate the incredible sacrifices of the brave men and women of the Armed Forces," said Underwood. "Throughout my partnership with Carnival Cruise Line we have recognized the efforts of our dedicated military personnel while raising funds for Operation Homefront. It is something I am very proud to be a part of."

The daughter of a retired Army master sergeant who was a member of the Special Forces, Barber joined the Army Reserve as a quartermaster officer in 2011. After earning her bachelors in business management from Virginia State University, Barber went on to complete her masters in computer information systems from the University of Maryland University College. She currently serves as logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit in Rockville, Md.

"I'm honored to serve as godmother of the brand new Carnival Vista and join a long line of strong, successful women who have fulfilled this time-honored role," said Barber. "In addition to serving as godmother, today was extra special as I had the opportunity to meet several Operation Homefront families and hear their stories. It is a day I'll never forget."

"We're thrilled Carnival Cruise Line has honored those that do so much for the freedoms we enjoy daily – our service members and their families – with a truly memorable day onboard their newest ship," said Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. "Like-minded partners, like Carnival and Carrie Underwood, clearly demonstrate, through their actions, their steadfast commitment to our men and women in uniform."

As the line's newest ship, Carnival Vista introduced a number of groundbreaking innovations including the first brewery on a North American-based cruise ship, the first IMAX Theatre at sea, the most elaborate water park in the fleet highlighted by the 455-foot-long Kaleid-o-slide, a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky aerial attraction called SkyRide, and the new Family Harbor with specially designed staterooms for families, a family concierge and more.

Carnival Vista will operate a pair of 11-day sailings from New York before launching year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean service from Miami beginning Nov. 27.

Carnival Splendor To Sail From Long Beach In 2018
Carnival Cruise Line will increase capacity in Southern California when Carnival Splendor launches week-long Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, Calif., beginning in 2018.

With this capacity expansion, Carnival is further bolstering its leadership position in a popular and convenient homeport, adding a newer, larger vessel on the West Coast with Carnival Splendor.

Country music artist Carrie Underwood performs aboard the new Carnival Vista Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, in New York CityCarnival recently announced that it had signed an agreement with landlord Urban Commons and the City of Long Beach to expand the Long Beach Cruise Terminal facility to accommodate larger ships like Carnival Splendor and enhance its terminal operations. Carnival has operated the Long Beach Cruise Terminal since 2003 using a partial area of the Geodesic Dome that was the former museum housing Howard Hughes' "Spruce Goose" attraction. The agreement gives Carnival 100 percent use of the Dome, nearly tripling the size of its current terminal facility. Construction is slated to be completed in late 2017.

Prior to launching service from Long Beach, Carnival Splendor will offer a 13-day Panama Canal cruise in January 2018 that will feature a variety of spectacular ports throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Carnival Splendor will also operate unique 14-day Hawaii cruises round-trip from Long Beach.

"Long Beach is a highly convenient and popular homeport and we're delighted to provide our guests with exciting new year-round cruise vacation choices aboard a newer, larger ship in this market," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "At the same time, we're also very pleased that we're able to expand our terminal facilities in Long Beach with full utilization of the dome which will ensure we can provide our guests with a high quality and efficient experience at the port."

Week-Long Mexican Riviera Cruises Aboard Carnival Splendor
The 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor will launch a year-round schedule of seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, beginning Jan. 27, 2018, replacing Carnival Miracle and representing a 41 percent capacity increase on the line's week-long cruises from the West Coast.

Three different itineraries will be offered, each featuring stunning destinations along the Mexican Riviera. One itinerary visits Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, another spends two days at Cabo San Lucas and a full day in Puerto Vallarta, and a third overnights in Puerto Vallarta with a day-long call in Cabo San Lucas, as well. On these cruises, guests can relax on beautiful beaches, visit centuries-old historical sites and enjoy unforgettable dining and shopping experiences.

Carnival Splendor will join Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination which both offer three- and four-day Baja cruises from Long Beach. With the addition of Carnival Splendor, the line will carry upwards of 700,000 guests annually from Southern California, operating nearly 250 three- to 14-day cruises a year.

Exciting Panama Canal and Hawaii Cruises
Prior to its repositioning to Long Beach, Carnival Splendor will also offer a special 13-day Panama Canal cruise departing Miami Jan. 14, and arriving in Long Beach Jan. 27, 2018, [becoming the first Carnival ship to transit the newly opened Panama Canal locks] and providing guests the opportunity to experience this engineering marvel firsthand. The cruise will visit Cartagena prior to the Panama Canal transit, then call at Puntarenas, Puerto Quetzal and Cabo San Lucas.

Additionally, Carnival Splendor will operate two 14-day Carnival Journeys cruises to Hawaii round-trip from Long Beach – one departing Oct. 13, 2018, and the other Dec. 1, 2018. In addition to visiting four breathtaking Hawaiian destinations – Maui, Honolulu, Kona and Hilo – and a call at Ensenada, Mexico, guests sailing on these Carnival Journeys cruises will enjoy unique local dining and entertainment experiences and a number of shipboard enrichment activities.

Norwegian Cruise Lines Names New Senior Vice President, Sales
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Camille Olivere is joining the brand as Senior Vice President, Sales effective November 30, 2016. Formerly Senior Vice President of Partner Brands at World Travel Holdings, Olivere returns to Norwegian to cultivate and further enhance travel partner engagement across sales channels under the Norwegian’s Partners First philosophy and lead the continued development of sales in North America.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Camille Olivere is joining the brand as Senior Vice President“It is my pleasure to warmly welcome Camille back to the Norwegian Cruise Line family,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We recognize that her very strong relationships with travel partners of all different sizes and business models will enrich our ongoing engagement and education efforts, and know her vision will strengthen our Partners First values, an idea that we formalized during her previous tenure at the company and look forward to developing further with her return.”

Olivere originally joined the Norwegian sales team in 2009 as vice president of sales, supporting Stuart, who was then executive vice president of Sales. In 2012, she was promoted to senior vice president, achieving significant growth in the company’s charter business and leading efforts to re-energize the brand’s travel agency advocacy, with a focus on growing trade relationships through optimized marketing and co-op budgets to maximize sales. Now, she is delighted to return to Norwegian to continue to support and promote the company’s travel agent partners.

"I am so excited to rejoin the team at Norwegian and work alongside Andy in his new role as President and CEO. It’s an incredible time to be part of the Norwegian family and I look forward to continuing to support our valued travel partners across the U.S. and Canada in this new position,” said Olivere. “I have the utmost respect and admiration for the team at World Travel Holdings and I am grateful for a wonderful experience during my time with the company. I thank Brad and Jeff Tolkin and the entire team for their support as I transition to this exciting new role."

In addition to her time at World Travel Holdings where she was responsible for the company’s private-label partnership cruise portfolio including new business development, Olivere also previously served as senior vice president of sales for ClubMed, a role that saw her initiate a turnaround of U.S. travel agency sales and launch new partnerships. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Supplier Trade Committee and the America Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) Marketing Committee.

Olivere will be based at Norwegian Cruise Line’s headquarters in Miami reporting to Stuart and will head the North American sales leadership team that includes Alex Pinelo, vice president, key accounts and Nathan Hickman, vice president, field sales.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 48.99 - 0.22%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 76.48 - 0.51%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.23 + 0.90%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 37.83 - 2.68%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which famous liner came to the assistance of the Andrea Doria after she was struck by the Swedish liner Stockholm in 1956?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have televisions in every passenger cabin?

Answer - Chandris Line's Anerikanis, built as the Kenya Castle for Union Castle Lines in 1952.
courtesy of George Northup


Cruise News - October 31, 2016

Carnival Corporation to Expand the Fathom Experience to Additional Company Cruise Line Brands
Carnival Corporation today announced plans to expand its Fathom brand's Dominican Republic social impact experiences to its other cruise line brands sailing to its Amber Cove port of call.

Beginning in November, guests sailing regularly on the six additional Carnival Corporation brands to Amber Cove will be able to purchase a social impact excursion – a new participatory and immersive travel category pioneered by Fathom that takes people into the heart of a destination to explore local communities and discover its people in unconventional ways. Guests can purchase a social impact excursion just as they do today with traditional shore excursions.

Carnival Corporation to Expand the Fathom Experience to Additional Company Cruise Line Brands""The feedback from our travelers and our local Dominican partners who have participated in Fathom's social impact experiences in the Dominican Republic has been overwhelmingly positive and mutually beneficial," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. "Our travelers repeatedly tell us the activities and alongsided interaction with the local Dominican people is very fulfilling, rekindling their hope and passion and inspiring a whole new perspective on life."

Russell added: "Additionally, the social impact experiences create enduring positive impact in the lives of children, families and communities, significantly affecting bright futures. It is exciting to now offer thousands of guests who sail with our family of brands to Amber Cove the opportunity to be part of Fathom's social impact experience and broader story."

Since Fathom began its every-other-week voyages in May 2016 to Amber Cove – located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic -- its guests have been able to produce and install 730 water filters for local families, construct concrete floors for hundreds of people in 40 homes, plant nearly 16,000 seedlings and plants, and have provided approximately 17,500 hours of English conversational language skills training to adult and youth students.

Seven of the 10 Carnival Corporation brands make calls on Amber Cove -- AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Fathom, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises UK. By offering Fathom experiences to guests sailing on its other brands, the company expects to provide this unique, personally enriching experience to a much wider and growing number of guests with each additional sailing. In turn, this has the potential of significantly expanding the number of traveler impact days per month and broader collective impact story in the Dominican Republic.

To expand the Fathom social impact experience, the company will provide the following new excursions:


• Hands-On Chocolate Experience at a Women's Cooperative: Travelers will engage in an immersive cultural experience and make an impact in the Puerto Plata community during a unique, hands-on visit to a chocolate cooperative founded by enterprising local women. Travelers will visit the small community of Altamira where they will discover Chocal, a tiny organic-chocolate factory run by a group of local women committed to earning an income while remaining close to their families. Travelers will have the opportunity to work alongside these women to participate in the chocolate production process from bean to bar, a truly rewarding experience.
• Volunteer Experience at Recycled Paper & Crafts Entrepreneurship: For a rewarding experience that makes an impact on local communities, travelers may embark on an engaging and immersive cultural experience visiting artisans at a recycling micro-business. In the little village of El Javillar, travelers will find the RePapel co-op, a Recycled Paper & Crafts initiative that has taught local women to repurpose natural, recycled paper into treasures. Travelers will work side by side with these friendly women, discovering all aspects of the program, including creating new products for sale. At the end of their experience, travelers may purchase keepsake products to take home as mementos of their day. Fathom is also currently exploring additional opportunities globally and with sister brands to bring the Fathom onboard and onshore engaging, purposeful experiences to a broader audience of travelers. New and additional opportunities for travelers to engage in the Fathom experience will be shared in coming months.

Featuring a two-berth port and a 25-acre landside development nestled in a picturesque cove, Amber Cove provides cruise guests from Carnival Corporation's brands with a convenient gateway to one of the newest Caribbean destinations -- the Puerto Plata region on the island's north coast. Referred to as the "Amber Coast," the region is known for the friendliness of its people, its history and culture, and the beauty of its beaches, mountains, forests, waterfalls and rivers.

The port also re-opened in November 2015 the spectacular Puerto Plata region to regular cruise ship visits for the first time in nearly 30 years, adding a new and exotic destination to the Caribbean, the world's most popular region for cruising.

In total, there are more than 40 excursion options currently being offered to guests sailing to Amber Cove with the company's brands. This includes traditional recreational and sight-seeing cruise excursions, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing or simply a relaxing day at the beach.

Royal Caribbean Reports Solid Third Quarter Results
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported GAAP and adjusted third quarter earnings of $3.21 and $3.20, respectively, up 13% from last year and better than expectations. Full year adjusted earnings guidance is unchanged at $6.00 to $6.10 per share.

Looking ahead to 2017, RCL said that it's booked position is better than same time last year on both volume and rate, supporting the company's trajectory to the Double-Double.

Princess Cruises Announces Partnership with French Chef Emmanuel RenautNet Yields on a Constant-Currency basis increased 2.9% during the quarter, better than previous guidance. Continued strength in demand for North American products was a key driver of the outperformance while the balance of the portfolio performed in-line with expectations. Growth in onboard revenue continued to outpace overall net yield growth, despite an extraordinary outperformance last summer. Favorable trends in both currency and fuel compared to expectations also provided a benefit to the quarter.

US GAAP Net Income for the third quarter 2016 was $693.3 million or $3.21 per share, compared to $228.8 million or $1.03 per share in 2015 – this includes $399.3 million in non-cash impairment charges related to the Pullmantur brand that was taken last year. Adjusted Net Income for the third quarter of 2016 was $690.9 million, or $3.20 per share, which was $0.10 better than guidance and up 13% versus same quarter last year. About half of the outperformance was driven by better than expected revenue performance, with the balance of the improvement being mainly driven by the benefits of a weaker dollar and lower fuel prices.

Constant-Currency NCC excluding fuel decreased 1.6%, in-line with expectations. Bunker pricing net of hedging for the third quarter was $524 per metric ton and consumption was 341,000 metric tons.

FULL YEAR 2016

The company maintains full year Adjusted EPS guidance of $6.00 to $6.10 per share. Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up 4.0% or better for the full year. Strong close-in demand for North American itineraries in the third quarter is helping offset an impact from the delayed opening of Empress of the Seas sailings during the fourth quarter.

NCC excluding fuel are expected to be up approximately 1.0% on a Constant-Currency basis, in-line with previous guidance.

"Our strong booked position and continued focus on effective cost management is expected to keep full year earnings ahead of initial guidance and positions us well for the Double-Double in 2017," said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer. "Minor operational variations are causing some timing shifts between quarters, but the overall market and our overall results remain unchanged from our last guidance."

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, the company expects 2016 Adjusted EPS in the range of $6.00 to $6.10 per share.

FOURTH QUARTER 2016

Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up approximately 6.0% in the fourth quarter of 2016, and NCC excluding fuel are expected to be down approximately 1.5%.

These yield improvement expectations in the fourth quarter are largely driven by the deconsolidation of Pullmantur that was announced earlier this year, strong demand for our new hardware and a higher mix of North American and Australian based itineraries.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, the company expects fourth quarter Adjusted EPS to be approximately $1.20 per share.

2017 OUTLOOK

At this time, 2017 itineraries are booked ahead of last year in both rate and volume. New ships including Harmony of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas are seeing strong trends, supporting a solid outlook for 2017.

"Next year marks the finish line for the Double-Double and we are looking forward to a strong finish to this chapter in our continuous journey of rising shareholder returns," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. "New hardware, continued strength onboard, along with continued cost discipline and a highly motivated team over 65,000 strong is proving to be a winning combination."

Norwegian Cruise Line Reveals Wyland's Visionary Hull Artwork for Norwegian Bliss
Continuing its tradition of featuring original artwork on its ship’s hulls, Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed the signature art designed by one of the world’s premier marine life artists, Wyland, for its upcoming new ship Norwegian Bliss, which will cruise to Alaska beginning in June 2018. Entitled “Cruising with the Whales,” the engaging and beautiful art prominently features a stunning image of a mother humpback whale and her calf as the centerpiece of the design, signifying the beauty of Alaska and the importance of conservation. Known for his iconic whale murals, marine life paintings and sculptures, Wyland has inspired generations to be passionate about preserving the oceans and the incredible wildlife that calls it home. Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer, joined Wyland to reveal the design today at the Wyland Galleries in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

orwegian Cruise Line Reveals Wyland's Visionary Hull Artwork for Norwegian Bliss“Humpback whales are an iconic part of the Alaska landscape and one of the most compelling sights visitors can see while cruising the Last Frontier,” said Stuart. “It was only fitting that an artist of Wyland’s caliber should create the artwork for our first ship designed for Alaska, which includes humpback whales and other signature marine life found in the world’s oceans. We hope that our guests are just as inspired as we are by this beautiful artwork.”

The enormous extent of Wyland’s public artworks, his award-winning art galleries and his non-profit foundation’s community service projects have made him one of the world’s most recognized and beloved artists. An artist inspired by different canvases, Wyland has been diving the world’s oceans for the past 30 years and these wildlife encounters have inspired him to paint the animals life size, on more than 100 ocean murals throughout the US and 18 countries around the world. Wyland has taken advantage of Norwegian Bliss’ unique canvas to create a life size portrait of the planet’s most spectacular marine life, including giant manta rays, dolphins, sea lions and sea turtles, to give the viewer a sense of being part of the ocean’s realm. The beauty in Alaska and along the Pacific coast has inspired many of Wyland’s paintings and sculptures and contributed to his inspiration for Norwegian Bliss’ hull artwork.

“As a marine artist who has painted the largest murals in the world, it is an honor to have the opportunity to collaborate with Norwegian and present my art on such a grand scale,” said Wyland. “I can’t think of a more perfect canvas for a marine artist than Norwegian Bliss and I hope my art inspires people to see the beauty in nature and hopefully work to preserve it. Norwegian is as committed as I am to ensuring the health of the oceans and our planet and I look forward to our partnership as we use art, science and adventure to inspire a generation to take care of our blue planet.”

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience and the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in Seattle. The ship will also come outfitted with exhaust gas scrubbers, which significantly decrease air emissions including the reduction up to 99 percent of sulfur into the atmosphere, furthering Norwegian’s commitment to protecting the unique ecosystems found throughout Alaska and across the world.

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss will be constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018. She will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Additional details on the ship’s accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months. Norwegian Bliss will be available for reservations beginning January 2017.

Princess Cruises Announces Partnership with French Chef Emmanuel Renaut
Princess Cruises announced a partnership with three-Michelin star Chef Emmanuel Renaut to develop the cruise line's next specialty restaurant concept. "La Mer – A French Bistro by Emmanuel Renaut" will debut aboard Majestic Princess in April 2017, the cruise line's newest ship tailored for the China market.

Followed by the partnership announcement with another Michelin star Chef Richard Chen, serving his interpretation of classic Cantonese dishes at Harmony, Majestic Princess will be the only cruise ship that offers two specialty dinner menus designed by Michelin star chefs at sea in China.

Princess Cruises Announces Partnership with French Chef Emmanuel RenautEmmanuel Renaut is the highly acclaimed Executive Chef of three Michelin star restaurant "Flocons de Sel," located in the French Alps village of Megève. Flocons de Sel was awarded its coveted third Michelin star in 2012, having earned its first Michelin star in 2004 and a second in 2006. Before establishing the restaurant in 1998, Chef Renaut cooked in some of the finest kitchens in Paris and London, including Hotel de Crillon, Claridge's and three-Michelin star Auberge de l'Eridan as sous chef to the celebrated Marc Veyrat.

"Adding Chef Renaut, another Michelin star chef, to Majestic Princess elevates the dining experience to an even higher level and reinforces our leading position as the best cruise line for foodies," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.

Offering an authentic yet updated Parisian bistro experience at La Mer, Chef Renaut is crafting a fine dining dinner menu featuring authentic French cuisine made unique with his modern twists – including both favorites from his Flocons Bistrot menu, as well as new concepts developed for La Mer. This specialty dinner experience will include a (to-be-determined) nominal cover charge. In addition, La Mer will offer complimentary lunch and breakfast options created by the Princess culinary teams.

"What I like most about my job is that dining experiences touch people's emotions," said Chef Renaut. "I've worked enthusiastically to design delicate and flavorful dishes and I'm really proud that the dinner menu I created will be served in the elegant and relaxed environment of La Mer. I am excited to bring a new, authentic French bistro dining experience to Majestic Princess."

Located in the lively atrium onboard Majestic Princess, La Mer has been exquisitely designed by Jeffrey Beers International (JBI), recognized as a leader in international hospitality architecture and design. This unique space combines French style and authentic Parisian details with breathtaking sea views through floor to ceiling windows, and offers the perfect vantage point to enjoy the activity and entertainment from the atrium Piazza below.

Departing April 4, 2017, the 143,000-ton Majestic Princess will sail on her inaugural voyage, a five-day Adriatic Sea cruise roundtrip from Rome with stops in Kotor and Corfu. Following her maiden cruise, Majestic Princess will tour Europe, offering guests a chance to experience the ship on 7-, 14-, 21- and 28-day cruises departing from Rome, Barcelona or Athens. A repositioning voyage will depart Rome on May 21, 2017, visiting Dubai and Singapore before arriving in Shanghai, her new home. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from its home-port in Shanghai on July 11, 2017, carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of destinations in Japan and Korea.

Princess Cruises Appoints New Director of Public Relations
Princess Cruises has appointed Negin Kamali to the role of director, public relations. Negin brings nearly 17 years of expertise in the public relations field developing communications strategies, creating innovative programs and managing public relations for major consumer lifestyle brands like Mattel, Nestlé and a portfolio of wine brands within Ste. Michelle Wines Estates including Columbia Crest and Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Negin Kamali Appointed Director of Public Relations for Princess Cruises.Prior to joining Princess, Negin was an executive director in the Los Angeles office of Golin. She spent 15 years at the agency developing and implementing award-winning programs for clients in the travel, food and wine, entertainment and consumer packaged goods industries.

During her time at Golin, Negin managed the Princess Cruises and Cunard Line accounts, spending seven years leading the Cunard Line account team. During that time she worked on the launch of Cunard's newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, and developed programs to help increase media coverage for the brand. Within this role, Negin also supported several major initiatives including the launch of Cunard's social media channels, the 2011 Rose Parade Float, onboard enrichment programming, in-port functions and familiarization trips.

"With her integrated consumer marketing communications experience, Negin adds tremendous value to the public relations department at Princess Cruises," said Brian O'Connor, vice president of public relations. "She is a welcomed leader to the department whose passion for public relations brings new ideas and approaches to continue to drive brand awareness and purchase intent for our cruises."

Negin earned a master's degree in corporate public relations from Boston University and received her bachelor of arts in communication from the University of California, San Diego, with a minor in law and society.

She is active in the public relations professional community, having served on the board of the Los Angeles chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA-LA) from 2011- 2013, and guest lecturing at various area universities.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 49.10 + 4.47%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 76.87 + 9.27%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.21 - 0.90%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 38.87 + 2.13%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have televisions in every passenger cabin?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - I went to an Ocean Liner collectibles show a while back and stumbled across a set of deck plans for a ship named Seawise University. What was the previous name of this ship and how did she end her career?


Click Here for a larger version of the picture.

Answer - The Seawise University was originally the R.M.S Queen Elizabeth. She had been purchased by Orient Overseas Line Owner C. Y. Tung (C. Y.'s University-get it?) for use as the home of the World Campus Afloat Program-now Semesterat Sea from the University of Pittsburg. She sank in Hong Kong harbor about 1972 after being gutted by a fire of mysterious origin. She remained half visable for a number of years before being broken up.
courtesy of William L. Carpi


Cruise News - October 24, 2016

New Princess Cruises Livery Makes U.S. Debut
Princess Cruises revealed its new livery as Royal Princess made her U.S. debut on arrival into Ft. Lauderdale on October 22. The ship is the first to sail with the new hull design featuring the iconic brand mark, which was added during a recent dry dock in Civitavecchia, Italy.

Royal Princess arrives in Ft. Lauderdale with the new brand mark hull designThe 3,600 passenger ship is currently sailing the Caribbean with cruise fares starting from $899 per person, based on double occupancy.

The new livery design will roll out fleetwide over the next few years.

One of the most recognized brand logos in cruising; the design symbolizes the smooth and flowing gracefulness of ocean waves and represents the excitement and adventure of discovering the best the world has to offer on a Princess cruise vacation. The modern, sophisticated-look is designed to reinforce the premium experience of Princess Cruises, recognized around the world as a destination leader.

“For nearly half a century our Princess logo has represented the adventure of cruise travel around the globe,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Now our ships sail to more than 360 ports of call worldwide and will be instantly recognized from afar.

Royal Caribbean Names Godmother of Harmony of the Seas
The results are in; after a six-week search for an educator who is inspiring South Florida's next generation to dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo, 23-year-old Brittany Affolter from the Miami-Dade region of Teach For America, has been selected as Godmother of Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, Harmony of the Seas. With this honor, Affolter will join the ranks of renowned athletes, celebrities and royalty when she officially breaks a bottle to name the ship on Nov. 10, 2016. Royal Caribbean received nearly one thousand nominations from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, of which three Finalists were selected and voted on by the public to help choose a South Florida hometown hero in education.

Brittany Affolter has been selected as  Godmother of Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, Harmony of the Seas"The Godmothers of our ships are remarkable individuals whose life lessons and achievements are rooted in courage, dedication and determination," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Brittany exemplifies these qualities and so much more. We were exceptionally impressed by the passion she has for empowering our youth to believe in a better world and brighter future. She is wise beyond her years, and we can only imagine the accomplishments that she will continue to achieve."

"At Royal Caribbean, we view education as a crucial stepping stone for our young people," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We are very proud to be in a position to 'pay it forward' by celebrating the unsung heroes in our local communities who have dedicated their lives to this goal. Congratulations to Brittany and the nearly thousand other heroes who were nominated."

Brittany Affolter pursued a career in education as a way to pay it forward and inspire children in the same way she had been during her early years. She grew up in a challenging home environment where she received little support and guidance, and was able to remove herself from that setting with the help of teachers and mentors. Instead Affolter found the encouragement and inspiration she sought from caring and devoted teachers who believed in her, helping her realize that college was within grasp and that a quality education was essential for a successful, fulfilling life. Ultimately, these teachers advanced her to where she is today.

Affolter has been working with Teach For America Miami-Dade since 2014, engaging classrooms in Title 1 schools across the county that meet the needs of at-risk and low-income students. In order to reach as many kids in Miami as possible for the greatest impact, she now trains teachers at 14 high-need schools in Miami-Dade, serving more than 500 students. In her spare time, she tutors students, is working to become a mentor for children in foster care, and is completing her masters in educational leadership.

"I am so honored to have been selected as Godmother to Harmony of the Seas and hope that my story can help give a voice to all the hard-working teachers that give so much of themselves to make a meaningful difference," said Affolter. "It's most important for me to help kids understand that no matter what is going on in their lives, they can reach the dreams they have for themselves. It's amazing what you can achieve when you have the support and encouragement of teachers who go above and beyond."

Royal Caribbean set out to find a hometown hero in education to honor the homecoming of Harmony of the Seas, which will make her U.S. debut in a few short weeks when she arrives into her new homeport of Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on November 5. The South Florida-based company sought an outstanding candidate that is making a positive impact on the community's youth and received nearly 1,000 motivating and heartfelt nominations. After narrowing the selection to three standout finalists, and thanks in part to votes from South Florida residents, Affolter rose to the top as the educator most deserving to be named Godmother of the world's largest cruise ship. Royal Caribbean will award a $25,000 grant to Teach For America Miami-Dade, funding education initiatives that further Affolter's mission to inspire the local community's youth.

"Leading a classroom to great results is no small feat," said Samantha Hoare, executive director of Teach For America Miami-Dade. "We see a lot of invaluable qualities in the future leaders who join our corps, most importantly, a desire to have a real impact in the community and a deep belief in the potential of all kids. We saw the makings of a great teacher, mentor and coach in Brittany, and thrilled that she is being recognized for her commitment to expanding opportunities for Miami-Dade's children through an excellent education."

For more information on how Affolter is inspiring the next generation, as well as the role of Royal Caribbean Godmothers, past and present, visit www.royalhometownhero.com.

Harmony of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship with a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences found nowhere else on land or at sea. Harmony combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are known for, with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities, including imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, such as VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. From the Ultimate Abyss, a thrilling 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including Broadway's hit musical Grease and high-diving, acrobatic performances in the iconic AquaTheater, world-class dining in venues ranging from Jamie's Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Wonderland, a unique whimsical culinary adventure for the senses; and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for guests of all ages onboard Harmony.

Harmony of the Seas spans 16 guest decks, encompasses 226,963 gross registered tons, carries 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,747 staterooms

Make the Most of Your Cruise Vacation: Here are Top 10 Tips from Cruise Experts
Officers in charge of hotel operations on cruise ships have seen it all: The first-time cruisers who come onboard big-eyed as they take in their impressive floating surroundings. Repeat cruisers arriving with plans to see and do everything. The overall joyful buzz as everyone begins a cruise vacation of a lifetime.

Whether you're a newbie or a frequent guest on the high seas, here are 10 tips from the pros on how to be a better cruiser.

Experience a sunrise and sunset. Getting up at dawn in a destination such as Alaska is not only impressively peaceful but brings your best opportunity to spot whales and other wildlife, says Adam Gorst, Princess Cruises hotel general manager on Emerald Princess.

One tip from cruise experts is to plan on rising early on at least one day to enjoy the spectacular views and peacefulness of sunrise on the ship's top deck.Grab your binoculars and position yourself on your balcony or on an open deck and enjoy your first cup of coffee – with views. Later, do drinks while watching the sun setting over the sea.

In between, you may want to take a power nap so you'll be prepared for the ship's full roster of late-night happenings.

Ask lots of questions. The crew has your best interests at heart and no question is too big or too small, says Jasper Wolthuis, hotel general manager on Coral Princess.

"Passengers shouldn't be shy about asking any crew member if they have a question. We can help maximize your time onboard," Wolthuis says.

"If you really want to get the best experience possible, ask every single question that comes to your mind," adds Don Habits, hotel director on Holland America Line's newest ship, ms Koningsdam. "We are here to ensure that our guests have a wonderful time, and we encourage our guests to ask questions as we are happy to help."

Read the daily newsletter. The newsletter delivered to your cabin each evening has a full listing of activities and entertainment happenings for the next day. You'll find information on festivities, contests, lectures, dress codes, dining times, sales at the shipboard shops and more.

Unfortunately, not everyone reads the information and it's not uncommon for people to hear about a shipboard activity after the fact, say the experts. Don't let this be you.

"Use the newsletter like you would a TV guide – circle or highlight everything you want to do so you don't miss out on anything," advises Alyn Baker, hotel general manager on P&O Cruises' Azura.

Advise the ship on special needs. It's always advisable to alert the cruise line well in advance of your sailing. This applies to any mobility restrictions, health issues, allergies and dietary needs and requests.

All of these can be best accommodated with advanced planning, the onboard experts say. The crew onboard ships does their best to take care of all needs, but if possible it is always best to avoid a last-minute scramble.

Plan to try new things. On your cruise vacation you'll be exposed to new places, dining choices and activities. Plan to make the most of what's available, says Henk J. Mensink, hotel director on Holland America Line's ms Amsterdam.

"The idea is, how do you know what you like until you try it?" Mensink says. "There is always something for everyone in our daily programming. Your personal entertainment is subjective, but our ability to entertain you is not."

P&O Cruises' Baker adds that part of the fun of cruising is experimenting.

"You only get out of a cruise what you put in so why not try to learn something new such as juggling or ballroom dancing or attend one of the lectures by specialist guest speakers?" she suggests.

Map out port days. Whether you are booking shore excursions or planning to explore independently, you'd be wise to do advance research on your ship's ports of call.

"I am always a bit confused by those who reach a port and then ask at the gangway, 'What is there to do here?' It pays to be ahead of the game," advises Jessica Schumann, hotel director on Holland America Line's ms Noordam.

Plenty of information is available online, or check out the travel books in your local public library or bookstore. Once onboard you'll find port experts who can offer further advice. You may also want to pick the brains of your fellow passengers.

"Many of Seabourn's guests are very well traveled and therefore they may have excellent tips and suggestions of things to do and places to see," says Josef Schuppler, hotel director on the Seabourn Quest.

Don't miss the ship. You may have heard horror stories of people heading off on their own in ports and then missing the ship. Such incidents are extremely rare, says Diane Belshaw, hotel operations & retail manager on P&O Cruises' Oceana.

Still, it's important to listen to shipboard announcements and note what time to be back onboard (times are posted in daily newsletter and at the gangway). If you do miss the ship or run into other issues on shore, know that the cruise line has you covered with a port agent onsite to help.

Consider pre-cruise overnights. If you have the time, most embarkation cities are great places to visit. Especially when traveling a long distance, you might consider arriving a day or two before your ship sails.

"There are a couple of important reasons as to why," says Cees Tesselaar, hotel director on Holland America Line's ms Prinsendam. "First, there is so much to see in these cities and you won't get to know them on the transfer bus between the airport and the ship. Second, you won't arrive onboard the ship exhausted from the flight. You will have had a couple of night's rest."

Pre-book everything you can. You may be able to book shore excursions and make reservations for spa treatments and specialty dining well before you set foot onboard your ship. You are wise to use this option when available, advises Freddy Esquivel, hotel director on the Carnival Sunshine.

That's because some popular tours sell out and booking in advance is also a timesaver.

"Rather than standing in line at the shore excursion desk, you can enjoy more time by the pool and doing other fun stuff," Esquivel advises.

Take time to explore your ship. It pays to become familiar with your ship's layout and amenities, advises Holland America Line's Schumann. That's what she did when she and her husband (who happens to be executive chef on the Noordam) vacationed on German brand AIDA.

"We spent our first day onboard exploring the ship from top to bottom to make sure we were not missing out on anything," she says. "The rest of our week was about enjoying all the ship and ports had to offer."

Disney Cruise Line Unveils Ports and Itineraries for Early 2018
Disney Cruise Line introduces a popular Caribbean destination — Bonaire — into the lineup of favorite itineraries for early 2018. Limited-time engagements in Puerto Rico and California, plus a variety of cruises from Florida, offer Disney Cruise Line guests the opportunity to visit exciting ports of call in the Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexican Riviera from January through May.

Bookings open to the public on Oct. 27, 2016.

All 2018 Disney Cruise Line sailings from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean include a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island paradiseSan Juan to Southern Caribbean, including Bonaire
Bonaire is a new port of call for Disney Cruise Line and part of a seven-night sailing that departs San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Jan. 28. Located just north of the South American coast, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire is favored for arid climate and sunny weather. Beautiful waters and a reef-lined coast lure water-sport enthusiasts for scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing and kiteboarding.

From San Juan, the Disney Wonder sets sail on three seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean. Departing Jan. 14, 21 and 28, each voyage offers a unique itinerary with four destinations and two days at sea. This limited-time engagement includes a combination of calls on Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St. Kitts.

San Diego
Disney Cruise Line will return to San Diego with seven Disney Wonder cruises to Baja and the Mexican Riviera, where guests can enjoy world-famous beaches and snorkeling. Five-night sailings visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico, while two- and three-night cruises call on Ensenada.

Friday departures for the two-night cruises offer the ultimate weekend getaway from San Diego.

Port Canaveral
With three Disney ships in port and cruise lengths spanning three, four and seven nights, vacationers looking for a Disney Cruise Line getaway in early 2018 have a full menu of options from Port Canaveral, Florida. Every sailing includes a day at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests.

The Disney Fantasy continues to sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages, while the Disney Dream embarks on three- and four-night cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay. From Feb. 8 through April 8, the Disney Wonder will alternate similar three-, four- and seven-night itineraries.

Miami
To kick off 2018, the Disney Magic continues sailing from Miami with four- and five-night voyages to the Bahamas, plus five-night Western Caribbean cruises.

Castaway Cay awaits guests aboard every one of these Disney Magic sailings. Other Bahamian ports of call include Nassau and Key West, while a stop in Grand Cayman or Cozumel headlines the Western Caribbean itineraries.

Fathom Celebrates the Meaningful and Collective Impact in the Dominican Republic
Fathom, the pioneer in social impact travel, today highlighted the collective impact made during its first 13 sailings to the Dominican Republic. Travelers have dedicated thousands of impact days to help areas of economic, educational and environmental opportunity to flourish in Dominican communities. From planting more than 16,000 seedlings to producing 730 clay water-filters, travelers have become part of something bigger and unleashed their own potential in fun, creative, engaging and surprising ways.

Fathom Celebrates the Meaningful and Collective Impact in the Dominican Republic"From the beginning, Fathom, our travelers and our incredible community partners have been weaving a beautiful impact mosaic that is inspiring hope and ongoing potential," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation & plc. "We have done this by learning, immersing and coming alongside the vision of our partner communities in a way that supports holistic flourishing. We participated closely with local community leaders and our partner organizations to understand their hopes and dreams for the region, and then identified specific, measurable success metrics we could track to begin understanding definitively certain elements of the impact story being woven together. It is humbling to see the collective impact story we are beginning to affect in just a few months."

During sailings to the beautiful Puerto Plata region on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, mindful travelers playfully engaged and participated alongside partners to learn, understand and address the various opportunities for local families. To date, Fathom travelers and local Dominicans have collectively:

Student English Conversation & Learning / Community English Conversation & Learning:
Impact: Fathom travelers provided approximately 17,500 hours of English interaction to individual adult and youth students, better preparing youth and adults for future employability and increased economic opportunity. Why It Matters: The largest driver of employment success in the tourist-driven Dominican Republic economy is English proficiency.

Water Filter Production:

• Impact: Fathom travelers produced and installed 730 water filters in community homes, positively impacting the health and wellbeing of thousands of local Dominicans.
• Why It Matters: The estimated 3,650 Dominican recipients of these filters will experience a reduction in instances of waterborne illnesses, as well as cost savings from not having to purchase expensive bottled water. Indirect benefits could include better work and school attendance.

Reforestation & Nursery:

• Impact: Fathom travelers planted more than 16,000 seedlings and plants, offsetting the environmental impact of travelers coming to the region.
• Why It Matters: Over time, Fathom's reforestation and nursery efforts will contribute to more nutrient-rich soil, helping to reduce soil loss, improve air and water quality, increase localized biodiversity and potentially producing higher agricultural yields for citizens.

Concrete Floors in Community Homes:

• Impact: Installed concrete floors in 40 homes, improving the living environments for hundreds of local Dominicans.
• Why It Matters: Concrete floors provide a safer and cleaner living environment for residents while reducing the health risks associated with dirt floors.

Cacao and Women's Chocolate Cooperative:

• Impact: Fathom travelers cleaned 3,700 pounds of cacao nibs, which translates to more than 109,000 finished chocolate bars; they also have wrapped, packaged and prepared for sale more than 57,400 products.
• Why It Matters: In a region with limited employment income, Fathom and its travelers are helping this small woman-owned business grow and thrive, which is contributing to the overall well-being of its employees and their families as well as other cooperatives.

Recycled Paper and Crafts Entrepreneurship:

• Impact: Fathom travelers produced more than 9,800 sheets of paper. vWhy It Matters: By helping entrepreneurs expand both their production and sales, Fathom travelers are creating critical income opportunities and financial independence for women workers. "We have seen tangible benefits thanks to our passionate travelers," said David Luther, executive director of Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral (IDDI). "Revenues have increased, wages have gone up accordingly and we've given hard-working and enterprising Dominican women a workshop to stay close to their families. The quality of work life has been greatly enhanced for the women who work there – and that's after just 13 sailings. When we look at the potential long-term impact, it's amazing to think what might be possible."

What sets Fathom apart is its shared-value partnership approach to creating significant, lasting and sustainable social impact within communities, while at the same time within the lives of its travelers. Additionally, Fathom's human impact journeys embrace fun and playfully engaging opportunities to develop human connections with like-minded travelers onboard and become a part of a global community that acts together for common good.

"My highlight of the trip was Community English. This impact activity not only gave us direct access to Dominican families and their homes, but we played an essential role in teaching them English," said Laura Lawson Visconti, a nonstop explorer from Truckee, Calif. "While this experience impacted me deeply, and I had to allow some time to process on my own later that evening in my cabin onboard Adonia, I was struck by the joy I felt from each Dominican I met. After a few moments together, we were family."

"The trip is not just about giving back, it's also about cultural immersion, discovering the beauty of the Dominican people/land, personal growth and yes, having fun," stated Justin Walter, a writer from Los Angeles, Calif.

"The Fathom experience attracts people who want to learn, give and be transformed through travel," said Ellen Christiansen, a travel advisor from Alexandria, Va. "A Fathom cruise bridges together people of all ages. While on my journey, I met everyone from young solo travelers to retired friends and couples, to families with young children; all stages of life, but all there with a sincere desire to give back in a unique new way."

The average household income in the Dominican is about $6,000 a year and more than three million people do not have access to piped water. However, the country has a strong infrastructure for impact including proven community development organizations with deep roots in the country.

Fathom worked closely with two of these organizations, along with various other stakeholder groups throughout the country – Entrena and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral, Inc. (IDDI) – to identify the areas of most need and undertake a range of projects focused on education, environment and economic development to provide meaningful, long-term and sustainable impact. Depending on travelers' interests, passions and desires, they venture off into intimate communities for up to three days to participate in social impact activities they care about, unleashing their potential and instantly developing friendships and partnerships.

While the impact results to date are real and tangible, Fathom is eager to continue building on the foundation laid by the company and its travelers to make meaningful, long-term and sustained impact. Fathom will continue taking up to 700 travelers to the Dominican Republic to adventure and come alongside local citizens for three days a week every other week, while continuing to closely monitor and measure its ongoing impact. The company has the potential to offer thousands of traveler impact days per month to its partner communities, so the results over time have the potential to be substantial.

The Queen Mary Hotel Named A Top Southern California Hotel
Condé Nast Traveler today announced the results of its 29th annual Readers' Choice Awards with The Queen Mary Hotel recognized in the "Top Hotels in Southern California" category with a No. 15 ranking.

The Queen Mary Hotel Named A Top Southern California Hotel""We are truly honored that The Queen Mary Hotel has been recognized by the trusted readers of Condé Nast Traveler, who are themselves experienced and adventurous travelers," said Taylor Woods, Co-Founder of Los Angeles-based real estate investment and development firm Urban Commons, the leaseholder of The Queen Mary. "This prestigious award is a testament to the unmatched level of personal service from our staff and the truly authentic and historical experiences we strive to provide onboard the ship. In addition to being a popular hotel and attraction, The Queen Mary is a storied landmark that we are fortunate enough to have right here in Southern California."

Over 300,000 dedicated readers – nearly twice as many as last year – cast votes for 7,394 hotels, 606 cities, 500 cruise ships, and 236 islands, in an average survey time of 8.4 minutes. The result? The 1,402 best travel experiences in the world.

No other hotel can boast traveling three and a half million miles since inception, but The Queen Mary – considered one of the grandest ocean liners ever built – offers guests unique hotel accommodations and a wide array of attractions that simply cannot be found anywhere else. Each of the 346 First-Class staterooms and suites offers 1930s decor featuring rich wood paneling and art deco fixtures with 21st century amenities. Guests can also pamper themselves at the Queen Mary Spa, shop at a variety of specialty boutiques or dine at one of the many fine dining and casual eateries.

In April 2016, Urban Commons assumed the 66-year master lease of The Queen Mary and the 65 total acres of land and water surrounding the ship. Recently, Urban Commons announced a $15 million renovation plan onboard the ship to enhance its original charm and capture the nostalgic excitement of travel. The company is also working on a large-scale development plan that will bring to life a must-visit mix of retail, dining, adventure and entertainment options on the acreage surrounding the ship.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 47.00 + 1.93%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 70.35 + 2.27%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.23 + 3.72%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 38.06 + 1.56%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - I went to an Ocean Liner collectibles show a while back and stumbled across a set of deck plans for a ship named Seawise University. What was the previous name of this ship and how did she end her career?


Click Here for a larger version of the picture.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When the Carnival Spirit (893 feet long and 84,000 tons) entered service in 2001 how many plastic deck chairs did she carry for her 2,124 passengers (...closest answer wins)?

Answer - There were 1,275 plastic deck chairs on the Carnival Spirit when she entered service (editor note: closest answer, actual number was 1,200).
courtesy of Phyllis Montgomery, Atlanta, GA


Cruise News - October 17, 2016

Norwegian Cruise Line To Debut New Ship Designed For Alaska Cruising In 2018
Norwegian Cruise Line will once again pioneer a new era of Alaska cruising beginning June 2018, as the company announced today that its next new vessel, named Norwegian Bliss, will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience. Norwegian Bliss will cruise to America's Last Frontier from Seattle and will be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in the Emerald City.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience.At a ceremony held at Port of Seattle's Pier 66, Norwegian President and CEO Andy Stuart shared the exciting news, alongside Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick and Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience. Norwegian Bliss will cruise to America's Last Frontier from Seattle beginning in June 2018 and will be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in the Emerald City. Continuing Norwegian Cruise Line's tradition of decorating each ship's hull with signature art, Norwegian has announced that the world's premier marine life artist, Wyland, has been commissioned to design the hull artwork for Norwegian Bliss, coming in 2018. Known for his iconic whale murals, marine life paintings and sculptures, Wyland has inspired generations to be passionate about the importance of marine life conservation.

The third ship in the line's Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss is designed with features and amenities to offer guests the ultimate Alaska cruising experience. At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, the ship will be constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018.

After a transatlantic cruise and a Panama Canal transit through the new locks, the ship will sail north along the West Coast, reaching Seattle for the start of the summer cruising season. Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America's last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship's itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising

Continuing Norwegian's tradition of decorating each ship's hull with signature art, Norwegian has also announced that the world's premier marine life artist, Wyland, has been commissioned to design the hull artwork for Norwegian Bliss. Known for his iconic whale murals, marine life paintings and sculptures, Wyland has inspired generations to be passionate about the importance of marine life conservation. The enormous extent of Wyland's public artworks, his award-winning art galleries and his non-profit foundation's community service projects have made him one of the world's most recognized and beloved artists. His engaging and beautiful design for Norwegian Bliss' hull art will be revealed later this month.

To further enhance the overall guest experience for cruisers from Seattle, Norwegian's parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has entered into a groundbreaking 15-year agreement with the Port of Seattle to collectively invest $30 million to upgrade the Pier 66 facilities. From expanding the guest check-in space by 300% to more than 150,000 square feet to a new VIP lounge with expansive views of Elliott Bay and the addition of two new elevated passenger boarding bridges to provide easy and comfortable passenger boarding, the new amenities will provide guests with the perfect send-off to start their Alaskan adventure.

"The Port of Seattle is proud to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line as we work to bring people from around the world to see the great Pacific Northwest from Seattle to Alaska," said Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick. "Our long relationship together is evident in this historic and unprecedented 15-year lease here at Pier 66."

Norwegian Bliss will feature amenities and interactive experiences that will excite and inspire, and more details on the ship's accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months. The ship will be available for reservations in January 2017.

Viking Star Arrives In New York
Viking Ocean Cruises today welcomed its first ship, Viking Star, into the New York harbor as part of its inaugural North American voyage. The 930-guest ship docked at Manhattan Cruise Terminal at noon, just after sailing past the Statue of Liberty with a reception by New York Fireboats. On October 11, Viking officially commemorated its first United States port of call in Boston, with a traditional maritime plaque ceremony attended by local officials and dignitaries. This is the first time Viking has sailed into North American ports, which are part of the company's new itineraries exploring the Americas and the Caribbean.

Viking Star, the first 930-passenger ocean ship from Viking Cruises, sails past One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan"To sail past Ellis Island and into New York for the first time is a proud moment for our entire Viking family. With the same spirit as the Vikings who originally sailed their longships across the Atlantic, arriving in North America signifies a new era of possibilities for our company and our guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "As our fleet continues to grow, we will look for new ways to bring our unique destination-focused approach to more regions of the world. There are no kids onboard, and there are no umbrella drinks. Instead, our Caribbean itineraries are inspired by iconic 18th century navigation routes and were developed to highlight the rich history and culture of the region."

The world's leading river cruise line, Viking was recently awarded top honors as the #1 Ocean Cruise line in Travel + Leisure's 2016 World's Best Awards. After departing from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on October 14, Viking Star will sail for San Juan, Puerto Rico, which will serve as her homeport for the winter season. From San Juan, the ship will sail the 11-day West Indies Explorer itinerary, which also calls on ports in the British Virgin Islands, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With no sea days on the itinerary, guests are able to avoid the time at sea typically associated with Caribbean cruises originating in Florida. While sailing West Indies Explorer, guests will have an opportunity to learn onboard about the destinations from local experts, historians and lecturers, as well as through a variety of shore excursions, including optional visits to museums, gardens and historic sites. Viking Star will return to Europe in February 2017, with a transatlantic sailing from San Juan to Barcelona.

Designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships®, Viking's ocean ships feature:

• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. Veranda Stateroom, all with private verandas and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, large showers, luxury toiletries, heated bathroom floors and large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand.

• Explorer Suites: The ship will feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.

• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ship features a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.

• LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."

• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow and designed in the Scandinavian spirit, for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.

• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood – an homage to Norse mythology and Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life.

• Dining Choices: Viking's ocean ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and the widest choice of culinary options, and the World Café, which serves international fare and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu complete with wine parings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. Additionally, The Kitchen Table experience focuses on regional dishes from market to table; the Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers; afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden; and Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea.

• Enriching Entertainment: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking in creating "the thinking person's cruise." Instead of casinos and water slides, guests are offered Viking's Culture Curriculum including: world-class lectures on history and art; tasting of vintage wines from their destinations; restaurant menus inspired by local cuisine; informative port talks; enriching Destination Performances featuring folkloric shows and musicians playing regional and classical music; an onboard cooking school allowing guests to learn how to prepare local specialties.

• Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking's ocean ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.

Carnival Signs Agreement To Expand Terminal Operations At The Port Of Long Beach
Carnival Cruise Line has signed an agreement with landlord Urban Commons and the City of Long Beach, Calif., to expand the Long Beach Cruise Terminal facility to accommodate larger ships in the future and enhance its terminal operations. The deal will nearly triple the size of Carnival's current terminal facility from approximately 66,000 square feet to 142,000 square feet.

Carnival Signs Agreement To Expand Terminal Operations At The Port Of Long BeachCarnival has operated the Long Beach Cruise Terminal since 2003 using a partial area of the Geodesic Dome that was the former museum housing Howard Hughes' "Spruce Goose" attraction. The agreement gives Carnival 100 percent use of the Dome, allowing for larger ships and providing additional space needed to accommodate two-way operations, enabling embarking guests to access the terminal prior to completion of disembarkation. Construction is slated to be completed in late 2017. During the construction period, measures will be taken to ensure a continued smooth operational flow and high standard of customer service for cruise guests.

"For years we have been working toward reaching an agreement to expand the Long Beach Cruise Terminal to accommodate larger ships on the West Coast, and we're thrilled to finally be able to move forward with our plans to assume full usage of the Dome, making Long Beach one of our largest homeport facilities," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We would like to thank the City of Long Beach and Urban Commons for their efforts in facilitating this expansion that will ultimately enhance the guest experience and build upon our leadership position as the number one cruise operator from the West Coast."

"The expansion of the Carnival Cruise terminal is great news for Long Beach and great news for visitors to our city," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. "The added capacity will bring more tourism and economic activity to Long Beach, and we're pleased to continue working with Carnival for many years to come."

Added Taylor Woods, co-founder of Urban Commons, "Carnival Cruise Line is a tremendous asset for the Long Beach community, and we are pleased to reach an agreement with their team that will support the exciting expansion of their operations immediately adjacent to The Queen Mary. We have big plans for the facility and the surrounding land, and Carnival's success will only add to the vitality and energy of what promises to be one of the top destinations in California. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Carnival for many years to come."

Plans also include expansion of portside cold-ironing capacity to accommodate larger vessels. The technology enables cruise ships to plug into the local electric grid and reduce exhaust emissions while docked. In addition, Carnival is working with Urban Commons on enhancements to the area surrounding the dome and the adjacent Queen Mary attraction, as well as ways to expand parking capacity to accommodate future growth.

Currently, the recently enhanced Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination operate year-round three- and four-day Baja cruises from Long Beach while Carnival Miracle sails seven-day voyages to the Mexican Riviera and 14- and 15-day cruises to Hawaii and Alaska round-trip from Long Beach.

Royal Caribbean Adds More Sailings To Longest-Ever Singapore Season
As Mariner of the Seas returns to Singapore today to launch Royal Caribbean International’s longest-ever Southeast Asian season, Royal Caribbean International announces that due to popular demand, it will be extending this season till next June with an additional nine sailings. Vacationers will now have a total of 64 sailings in the region to choose from.

Royal Caribbean Adds More Sailings To Longest-Ever Singapore SeasonAt the same time today, Royal Caribbean also received Travel Weekly Asia’s Readers Choice Awards for ‘Best Cruise Line - International’ and ‘Best Cruise Line - Family’. The awards honour the “best of the best” in the travel industry which have provided exceptional service and products in the past year. The winners were voted by Travel Weekly Asia’s readers on over 40 categories representing the different segments of the travel industry.

The global cruise brand is renowned for its innovative ships and wide range of first-at-sea amenities that have been redefining the cruise experience in Asia, notably the North Star elevated glass capsule and skydiving simulator on Asia’s newest and largest ship Ovation of the Seas, as well as the Royal Promenade and ice skating rink on its Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.

Sean Treacy, Managing Director, Singapore & Southeast Asia of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said, “Winning these prestigious awards is a great honour for us. We thank the Travel Weekly Asia readers and our industry partners for their recognition and strong support. As we look forward to our 10th anniversary in Asia next year, we aim to grow Royal Caribbean as a top vacation choice in Asia with our innovative ships and revolutionary onboard experiences, as we deliver to everyone “the One holiday” with “endless adventures”.

Royal Caribbean kick-starts its longest-ever Singapore season today, first on Mariner of the Seas with 41 sailings of 3 to 10 nights to popular destinations in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and China till March 2017. Highlights include the Salsa Cruise this December and the second Cosfest Sea Cruise next February.

Ovation of the Seas will be back in March to April 2017 with a total of 10 new sailings, comprising 3 to 5 nights to Penang, Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and a 12-night one-way cruise to Tianjin with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) for an overnight, Hue/Danang (Chan May), Hong Kong and Seoul (Incheon).

Following this will be Voyager of the Seas returning from May to June 2017 to offer 13 sailings of three to five night Southeast Asian itineraries to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang, Phuket and an 8-night one-way cruise to Hong Kong, with stopovers at Bangkok (Laem Chabang) for an overnight, Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Nha Trang.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.11 - 2.95%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 68.79 - 6.67%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.15 + 1.42%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 37.47 - 2.62%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When the Carnival Spirit (893 feet long and 84,000 tons) entered service in 2001 how many plastic deck chairs did she carry for her 2,124 passengers (...closest answer wins)?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When the former American Export liner Constitution returned to service for American Hawaii cruises in 1982 she was rechristened by one of her famous former passengers. Who was given this honor?

Answer - Which former cruise ship received special permission to fly the flag of the United Nations in honor of the over 25 nationalities represented in her crew?
courtesy of Patti Stasiak


Cruise News - October 10, 2016

Royal Caribbean Orders Two LNG and Fuel Cell Powered Ships
The newest class of ships from Royal Caribbean Cruises will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and introduce the use of fuel cell technology, ushering in a new era of shipbuilding that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.The ships will join the fleet of Royal Caribbean International, an industry leader in innovation and breakthrough ship design.

RCL said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with shipbuilder Meyer Turku for the new class of vessel under the project name "Icon." The vessels will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024. In the meantime, the company said, it will begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, and will also run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum class vessels being built in the next several years.

Royal Caribbean Orders Two LNG and Fuel Cell Powered ShipsRoyal Caribbean is already known for making steady progress on energy efficiency and reduced emissions through such technologies as air lubrication, which sends billions of microscopic bubbles along the hull of a ship to reduce friction, and AEP scrubbers, which clean exhaust gases before they leave the ship. Use of the new technologies will result in much cleaner emissions, as they produce no sulfur and significantly reduce the production of nitrogen oxides and particulates.

"With Icon class, we move further in the journey to take the smoke out of our smokestacks," said Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. "We are dedicated to innovation, continuous improvement, and environmental responsibility, and Icon gives us the opportunity to deliver against all three of these pillars."

"Our guests expect us to push every envelope we can," said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International. "And on this new class of ship, we began by challenging ourselves to find a new approach to power and propulsion that is safe, reliable, and more energy-efficient than ever before." Bayley added that exciting and innovative new guest experience elements of the Icon class design will be revealed later in the development process.

"Our partnership with RCL has created a number of groundbreaking ship classes, such as Oasis, Celebrity Solstice, Quantum, and Mein Schiff, and we are grateful that Royal Caribbean is again giving us the opportunity to partner with them on a new class of ships," said Jan Meyer, the CEO of Meyer Turku.

The switch to LNG provides further momentum for the technology, which has begun making significant inroads in the maritime industry. "Increasing the commitment to LNG makes it easier for suppliers to make their own infrastructure commitments," said Fain. "As more ships are built for LNG, the number of ports that support it will grow." The Icon ships are expected to run primarily on LNG but will also be able to run on distillate fuel, to accommodate occasional itineraries that call on ports without LNG infrastructure.

The introduction of fuel cells represents another dramatic step forward for the maritime industry, which has only made limited experiments using the technology. "We believe fuel cells offer very interesting design possibilities," said Harri Kulovaara, RCL's chief of ship design. "As the technology becomes smaller and more efficient, fuel cells become more viable in a significant way to power the ship's hotel functions. We will begin testing those possibilities as soon as we can, and look to maximize their use when Icon class debuts."

Kulovaara said RCL had been eyeing fuel cells for nearly a decade, and believes the technology is now at a stage of development that justifies investment. "There is a long lead time for Icon class, and we will use that time to work with Meyer Turku to adapt fuel cell technology for maritime use." Kulovaara said that additional regulatory standards would also need to be developed for the technology.

Because of the long lead time, Kulovaara said that many Icon design elements are in early stages. The Icon ships would likely accommodate approximately 5,000 passengers, he said, but details are still being worked out.

Icon is the first new ship class announced by RCL since Celebrity Cruises' new Edge class, which debuts in 2018. The company is also expanding its fleet with new Oasis- and Quantum-class ships for Royal Caribbean International. Fain said the new ships are in line with RCL's strategy of moderate capacity growth.This order is contingent upon the completion of contractual conditions, including documentation and financing. Final contracts are expected to be completed by year end. Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 are $2.4 billion, $0.5 billion, $2.6 billion, $1.5 billion and $2.0 billion, respectively. Capacity increases for 2016 through 2020 remain unchanged and do not include potential ship sales or additions that the company may elect to make in the future.

Genting Dream Delivered By MEYER WERFT
Today in Bremerhaven, MEYER WERFT handed over the new cruise ship Genting Dream (151,300 GT) to the Asian cruise operator company Dream Cruises. Together with the new design, this luxury liner offers passengers a wide range of special features and comfort. About 75% of the cabins are outer cabins and most of these have their own balcony. Furthermore, Dream Cruises has a crew of around 1,700 to offer passengers a particularly high standard of service.

Royal Caribbean Orders Two LNG and Fuel Cell Powered ShipsFor the first time, this cruise ship also carries two small deep sea submarines that can each take four people down to a depth of up to 200 metres. Entertainment on the ship is guaranteed state of the art thanks to an interactive communication system and extensive stage equipment. Environmentally friendly marine engines, diesel-electric pod drives, and improved hydrodynamics as well as numerous energy saving measures, heat recovery or ballast water cleaning all contribute to an ecological cruise experience and considerably reduced operating costs. The ship has also been designed and built according to the latest safety regulations.

Genting Dream has 35 restaurants and bars; various entertainment facilities such as theatres, bowling and a climbing park, as well as plenty of space for other outdoor activities. Great priority is given here to relaxation and recuperation. The ship has a Genting Club with 142 suites that offers the guests special privileges like an exclusive VIP pool as well as a separate spa area. On Genting Dream the first MRT (magnet resonance tomography) onboard of a cruise ship is installed.

The new ship for Dream Cruises has capacity for about 4,500 passengers in 1,674 cabins. The Genting Dream is 335 meters long, 39.7 meters wide and can reach a speed of more than 23 knots. The new cruise ship is designed for the rapidly developing Chinese cruise market.

After being handed over to the owner in Bremerhaven, Genting Dream will set sail to destinations in Pacific Asia where it will offer cruises for two, five and seven nights. Sailing from Hong Kong, it will cruise through spectacular regions in Vietnam and China.

The Genting Dream (yard number S. 711) was funded with innovation grants from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the state of Lower Saxony as a lead ship development that made first-time use of innovative components.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Transforms Compass Rose Into Largest Specialty Restaurant at Sea
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is revolutionizing its gourmet dining experience fleet-wide by transforming its signature restaurant, Compass Rose, into the largest specialty restaurant at sea. The new concept and menu for Compass Rose offer an unprecedented, fully customized epicurean experience with an unequaled variety of gourmet options available nightly. Completely transforming the main dining room experience, the new Compass Rose experience brings together two Regent Seven Seas Cruises hallmarks - exquisite gourmet dining and unrivaled personalized service.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Transforms Compass Rose Into Largest Specialty Restaurant at Sea This bold, innovative new culinary approach provides guests with a seemingly endless combination of dishes to choose from during dinner service at Compass Rose. Guests can select from more than a dozen different meat, fish and seafood items, have it prepared to taste, garnish with a sauce of choice and pick from a wide variety of side dishes and accompaniments to complete the meal. Additionally, each evening the ship’s executive chef creates nightly specials, which adds more than a dozen mouthwatering appetizers, pasta dishes and entrée choices to the menu. To complete the meal, Compass Rose will offer a separate dessert menu with international cheeses, premium handmade ice creams and delectable pastries, cakes, crumbles and soufflés.

“In much the same way we changed the luxury cruise market by offering the industry’s only true all-inclusive luxury experience, we’re now revolutionizing the dining experience by introducing the largest specialty restaurant at sea,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Our culinary team has created a truly extraordinary dining experience for Compass Rose with a degree of customization and variety typically reserved for more intimate specialty restaurants. We tested this new menu concept on a couple test cruises over the summer and our guests absolutely love it.”

The menu for Compass Rose is divided into two equal portions. The left-hand side provides guests with the ability to fully customize their dinner, while the right-hand side feature’s the executive chef’s nightly specials as well as a multi-course “menu degustation.” For the customizable section of the menu, guests can select from a list of high-quality entrees that include seafood items like lobster, shrimp, scallops, salmon and dover sole, or specialty cuts such as New York strip steak, filet mignon, lamb chops and veal medallions.

After making their selection, guests determine how they would like it prepared – grilled, baked, broiled, poached, or roasted – and select from a complementary list of sauces to garnish the dish, such as madeira-truffle, creamy herb, hollandaise, green peppercorn and hickory barbeque. From there, guests can choose from more than a dozen side items that range from lyonnaise potatoes, potatoes gratin and sweet potato fries, to sautéed spinach, brussel sprouts and green asparagus.

Adding to the variety, the ship’s executive chef will prepare a list of special appetizers and entrees for the dinner service. Since Compass Rose is the ship’s primary dining room, the dinner specials will change nightly with sample entrees that include veal medallions oscar, braised turbot fillet, cornish hen, roasted duck Beijing style and seared mahi mahi.

Capping off the gourmet meal, guests will find a dessert menu filled with new decadent offerings each and every night. The dessert menu will always feature a selection of fine international cheeses offered with a glass of port wine, assorted crackers and French bread along with a variety of handmade premium ice creams and sorbets. Guests will delight in nightly specials prepared by the ship’s pastry chef such as Tanzanian chocolate cake, almond croquant, bananas foster and Viennese apple strudel.

“The culinary teams on our ships have always been able to cater to our guests’ special culinary desires with advanced notice,” said Bernhard Klotz, senior director of culinary for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “The new Compass Rose menu is so encompassing and customizable that guests with special dining requests no longer need to make them in advance, our chefs can prepare whatever their heart’s desire a la minute.”

Along with the dinner menu, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is also reinventing the lunch menu for Compass Rose on Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner. In celebration of the launch of Seven Seas Explorer, Compass Rose on the line’s other ships will feature lunch selections from the three specialty restaurants on Explorer - Prime 7, Chartreuse and Pacific Rim. As with the dinner menu, the lunch menu will be updated daily and feature entrée items such as Croque-Monsieur or Croque-Madam from Chartreuse, Aromatic Duck from Pacific Rim and Yellowfin Tuna Salad from Prime 7.

Guests on Seven Seas Explorer and Seven Seas Navigator were treated to a preview of the Compass Rose menu during a multi-week test period, and it will remain as the standard menu for those two ships moving forward. The menu is scheduled to debut Nov. 9, 2016 on Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner on May 13, 2017, following each ship’s scheduled dry dock.

Royal Caribbean Selects Three Educators As Finalists For Harmony Of The Seas' Godmother
After receiving nearly one thousand motivating and heartfelt nominations from across South Florida, three standout candidates have been selected as finalists in Royal Caribbean International's search for an educator who is inspiring the next generation to dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo. On Oct. 24, one finalist will be named the winner, and honored as Godmother of Harmony of the Seas, the world's largest and most innovative cruise ship, during an official naming ceremony on Nov. 10, 2016. The South Florida-based cruise line also will award a $25,000 grant to the winner's school or non-profit organization, funding education initiatives that further her mission to inspire the local community's youth.

Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley shows off the cruise line's newest ship, Harmony of the Seas."We've seen an overwhelming response from the community with an outpouring of exceptional nominations from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. It is an honor to be able to recognize such inspiring educators for the work they do to make a positive impact on our youth," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "These three upstanding individuals have demonstrated unwavering passion and dedication, going above and beyond the classroom to make a huge difference in the community. We thank everyone who participated by recognizing our many heroes in education; they are leading the way in inspiring our youth to dream big, and that's work we all can be proud of."

The three educators chosen as finalists are:

• Brittany Affolter, Manager, Teacher Leadership Development, Teach for America Miami-Dade
Brittany Affolter was inspired by her teachers to leave an unhealthy home, attend college, and become an educator. To help pay it forward to others like her, Brittany now trains teachers at 14 low-income schools in Miami-Dade County, serving more than 500 students. In her spare time, she tutors her former students, is working to become a mentor for children in foster care, and completing her masters in educational leadership. At just 23 years old, Brittany's accomplishments are many and include starting the first-ever robotics and coding after-school program while teaching at Miami-Dade County public schools as a Teach for America corps member, and engaging her students to author a book about making the world a better place, which received attention from the White House and major sports organizations, such as the Miami Dolphins football team.

• Katherine O'Fallon, Magnet Coordinator, New River Middle School
Katherine (Katie) O'Fallon has been sharing her passion and knowledge for marine science with middle school students since 2006, and quickly learned that her greatest joy came from the wonder in a child's discovery of their passion for marine science. She strives to inspire students to immerse themselves in the underwater world, and apply what they learn by getting involved in their local community. Exposing her sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to environmental issues, Katie fosters stewardship and encourages them to be proactive in preserving and protecting their local habitat. She hosts multiple coastal clean-ups, engaging everyone from students and parents, to faculty and community partners; and organizes a variety of daily field experiences for students, including snorkeling trips in Fort Lauderdale and the Keys, shark-tagging with Nova Southeastern University and trips to local state parks. One of Katie's newest and most innovative projects is the school's remotely operated vehicles (ROV) program, where students learn and hone their skills in both the marine and engineering disciplines.

• Anike Sakariyawo, Physical Science Teacher at Miami Norland Senior High School
Anike Sakariyawo has taught various grade levels for more than 13 years, and is currently the physical science teacher lead for the ninth-grade students at Miami Norland Senior High School. Anike's passion for education extends beyond the classroom and standard school schedule; she is the founder of Seeking Education Empowers Knowledge (S.E.E.K.) ? a local non-profit that aims to empower teenagers, parents, teachers and the community. S.E.E.K. serves over 1,000 at risk youth in urban and rural areas with unique programming such as digital literacy, robotics, coding, electricity basics and how to create a product and a business plan. Each year, she holds the "Get Hip & Fit Fair" in July on Miami Beach for more than 500 kids from Miami-Dade and Broward County non-profit organizations, and also works with student volunteers to feed and clothe the homeless each month.

For more information on each of the finalists as well as the role of Royal Caribbean godmothers, past and present, visit www.royalhometownhero.com.

Harmony of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship. Harmony combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are known for, with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities, including imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, such as VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. From the Ultimate Abyss, a thrilling 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including Broadway's hit musical Grease and high-diving, acrobatic performances in the iconic AquaTheater, world-class dining in venues ranging from Jamie's Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Wonderland, a unique whimsical culinary adventure for the senses; and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for guests of all ages onboard Harmony.

Harmony of the Seas spans 16 guest decks, encompasses 226,963 gross registered tons, carries 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,747 staterooms.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 47.51 - 3.30%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 73.71 - 1.15%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.12 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 38.48 + 1.85%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cruise ship received special permission to fly the flag of the United Nations in honor of the over 25 nationalities represented in her crew?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When the former American Export liner Constitution returned to service for American Hawaii cruises in 1982 she was rechristened by one of her famous former passengers. Who was given this honor?

Answer - OCEANIC CONSTITUTION was renamed CONSTITUTION and christened bt HRH Princess Grace of Monaco, who had sailed on the CONSTITUTION to her wedding to Prince Ranier. Princess Grace had christened the CUNARD PRINCESS 5 years earlier in New York.
courtesy of dip156@yahoo.com


Cruise News - October 3, 2016

Carnival Signs Agreement with Shell to Fuel World's First LNG-Powered Cruise Ships
Carnival Corporation today signed a framework agreement with Shell Western LNG B.V. (Shell) to be its supplier of marine liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power the world's first fully LNG-powered cruise ships. Under this framework agreement, Shell will initially supply Carnival Corporation's AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises brands with fuel for two new LNG-powered ships expected to launch in 2019 with itineraries visiting popular northwest European and Mediterranean ports.

Carnival Corporation signed a framework agreement with Shell Western LNG B.V. to be its supplier of marine liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power the world's first fully LNG-powered cruise ships.As part of the agreement, these two ships, built with Carnival Corporation's next-generation "green cruising" ship design, will utilize Shell's infrastructure in cruise ports to refuel with LNG throughout their itineraries. The vessels, equipped with dual-fuel engines, are the first of a new generation of cruise ships fully powered by LNG both while in port and at sea -- an industry first and an environmental breakthrough that will improve air quality with cleaner emissions and produce the most efficient ships in company history.

"We are committed to reducing our air emissions and improving air quality by evaluating new and established solutions such as LNG -- an especially promising option because of its environmental and other benefits," said Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation. "We are proud to be on the forefront of advancing LNG as a fuel source for the cruise industry and creating an entirely new model for powering next-generation cruise ships. We look forward to a productive partnership with Shell, which has the experience and shared commitment to quality, safety and operational efficiency needed to help us bring this innovative LNG initiative to life with the first fully LNG-powered ships in the global cruise industry."

Pioneering a new era in the use of alternative fuels that reduce air emissions, these ships will be the first in the cruise industry use LNG to generate 100 percent of the ship's power both in port and on the open sea – an innovation that will significantly improve air quality to help protect the environment and support Carnival Corporation's aggressive sustainability goals.

"We have been working closely with Carnival to get to this point in our commercial partnership," said Lauran Wetemans, Shell's General Manager Downstream LNG. "Working together from an early stage is critical in helping the transition to cleaner LNG cruising. This is a unique partnership that will contribute to a robust and reliable LNG fuel supply chain, along with opportunities for future growth."

This agreement builds on the partnership established between Carnival Corporation's AIDA Cruises brand and Shell in April of this year to supply its AIDAprima ship with LNG to power the vessel while docked. The AIDAprima is the first cruise ship in the world to use LNG while in port, leading to a major reduction in emissions. Additionally, the agreement furthers the realization of Carnival Corporation's LNG efforts that began in 2015 with AIDAsol becoming the first cruise ship in the world to be supplied with power by an LNG hybrid barge, which also saw major benefits while in port.

Today's announcement was made on the heels of the company's order in September of three additional next-generation cruise ships that will be fully powered by LNG, bringing its fully LNG-powered ship orders total to seven across four of its 10 global cruise lines. Two of the new LNG-powered ships are designated for the world's most popular cruise brand, Carnival Cruise Line, with delivery dates expected in 2020 and 2022, and one is designated for P&O Cruises UK with an expected delivery date in 2020. The remaining two vessels will also be built for the Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises brands and are expected to enter service in 2021.

As part of the framework agreement, Carnival Corporation and Shell have the opportunity to partner together on supplying marine LNG fuel to future LNG-powered vessels or additional itineraries. The overarching agreement enables each Carnival Corporation brand to negotiate individual LNG supply contracts with Shell as new LNG-powered cruise ships begin to launch in coming years.

Queen Mary 2 Makes Boston Debut After Extensive Refit
Queen Mary 2 gave a royal welcome to Boston's top Instagram dogs, Nacho (@NachoDogg) and Bear (@KnoxandBear), who enjoyed the new kennels on the Remastered ship at Boston's Black Falcon Cruse Terminal. Cunard's flagship ocean liner sailed into Boston today to debut its significant refit costing in the region of $132 million. The luxury liner has been lovingly remastered with new contemporary interior designs and guest experiences, many of which take their design inspiration from the original Queen Mary, which debuted into service 80 years ago.

Queen Mary 2 gave a royal welcome to Boston's top Instagram dogs, Nacho (@NachoDogg) and Bear (@KnoxandBear)As the only passenger vessel to carry dogs and cats, Queen Mary 2 has expanded its kennel service during this multi-million dollar renovation, adding 12 new kennels for a total of 24. In addition, the ship extended the kennel area, adding an owner's lounge, new pet playground, and expanded the outdoor area to accommodate an historic British lamppost and American fire hydrant so canines from both sides of the pond feel at home. A full-time Kennel Master takes care of daily pet responsibilities including feeding, walking and cuddling the pets onboard.

Cunard's pet-friendly policy dates back 176 years to the maiden voyage of the Britannia in 1840 when the ship sailed with a cow to provide fresh milk for passengers. Famous canines such as Rin-Tin-Tin, Elizabeth Taylor's pampered pups and the Duke of Windsor's dogs traveled on Cunard, and to continue that tradition, Boston's top Instagram dogs joined Cunard on board the ship to test out the new, expanded kennels.

The refit was conducted in the Blohm + Voss Shipyard, in Hamburg, one of the only shipyards in the world large enough to hold Queen Mary 2. It was a 24-hour a day operation, with over one million man hours put into the refurbishment, during a 25-day period.

The Remastering Features:

• Redesign and refurbishment of the Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites and restaurants, as well as Britannia staterooms, the latter to be fully completed by the end of the year
• The addition of 30 further Britannia Club staterooms, 15 Britannia single staterooms and five Britannia inside staterooms
• Redesign of key public spaces and restaurants, including the transformation of the former Winter Garden into the Carinthia Lounge, the introduction of The Verandah as the ship's new specialty restaurant, and the complete refresh and restructuring of the Kings Court, the ship's popular buffet area
• 12 additional kennels and other enhancements
• And as befitting the flagship of the Cunard fleet, a complete repaint of the ship exterior and significant technical enhancements and structural changes.

Carnival Reveals Godmother of New Carnival Vista
Miss USA Deshauna Barber has been named godmother of Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and largest ship, Carnival Vista. Barber made history earlier this year when she became the first woman serving in the U.S. military to win the title of Miss USA.

Barber will officially name the massive 133,500-ton vessel during a shipboard ceremony that is part of an overnight gala event honoring Operation Homefront and featuring an exclusive invitation-only concert by seven-time GRAMMY-award winning country music super star Carrie Underwood. In addition to the concert, the festivities will include overnight accommodations, meals, activities and entertainment for hundreds of military families.

Miss USA Deshauna Barber has been named godmother of Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and largest ship, Carnival Vista.The concert and overnight gala event are the culmination of Honor. Family. Fun., Carnival’s year-long celebration designed to raise funds for Operation Homefront to help the organization fulfill its mission of building strong, stable, and secure military families.

“Deshauna is the ideal candidate to serve as Carnival Vista’s godmother, embodying the spirit of commitment and sacrifice to those who protect our freedom each and every day,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Carnival is a longtime supporter of the military carrying more active and retired Armed Forces personnel than any other cruise line so it’s our honor and privilege to have Deshauna serve as the godmother to our newest and largest ship.”

The daughter of a retired Army master sergeant who was a member of the Special Forces, Barber joined the Army Reserve as a quartermaster officer in 2011. After earning her bachelors in business management from Virginia State University, Barber went on to complete her masters in computer information systems from the University of Maryland University College. She currently serves as logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit in Rockville, Md.

A passionate advocate for the U.S. military and a champion of gender equality, Barber will focus her efforts on PTSD treatment for soldiers returning from deployments and suicide prevention throughout the Armed Forces.

“It is truly an honor to be named the godmother of Carnival Vista and I’m very excited to represent the U.S. military and be a part of the ship’s official naming ceremony next month,” said Barber. “I love that Carnival carries more families, including military families, than any other cruise line and I’m looking forward to checking out all of the ship’s many innovative features when I’m on board next month.”

As the line’s newest ship, Carnival Vista has introduced a number of groundbreaking innovations including the first brewery on a North American-based cruise ship, the first IMAX Theatre at sea, the most elaborate water park in the fleet highlighted by the 455-foot-long Kaleid-o-slide, a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, and the new Family Harbor with specially designed staterooms for families, a family concierge and more.

Currently sailing its inaugural season in Europe, Carnival Vista will reposition to the U.S. in November operating a pair of 11-day sailings from New York before launching year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean service from Miami later that month.

Norwegian Cruise Line Celebrates its First 50 Years
2016 marks fifty years since the M/S Sunward made her first voyage from Miami to the Caribbean on December 19, 1966, signifying the birth of Norwegian Caribbean Line. Today, the company now known as Norwegian Cruise Line is a leading global cruise brand with 14 purpose-built ships sailing to more than 300 destinations worldwide. To celebrate this golden milestone, Norwegian is inviting their guests, travel professionals, partners and team members to share fifty years of memories made through the company’s #NorwegiansFirst50 Anniversary Campaign.

Norwegian Cruise Line Celebrates its First 50 Years“We are celebrating fifty years of incredible moments aboard our ships and it’s the people -- our guests, travel partners and team members -- who make our history so special. We wouldn’t be here today without their loyalty and dedication,” said Andy Stuart, President and Chief Executive Officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We invite everyone who has sailed with us, commemorated a special occasion with us or made memories onboard to share their favorite moments and celebrate our first fifty years along with us.”

Through the global initiative, Norwegian Cruise Line guests, employees and travel partners are invited to upload their photos and stories to NorwegiansFirst50.com, which showcases a dynamic timeline of photos and stories spanning the brand’s first 50 years. Fans who upload memorable moments to the site, which will serve as a living, growing tribute to 50 years of feeling free out on the water, are encouraged to share their memories with friends on their social networks, with the chance of winning a free cruise as a reward for joining in the celebration (in participating markets).

Puerto Rico Anticipates Record-Breaking Cruise Season
Puerto Rico is on its way to break cruise passenger records for the second time in three years. The Island is the number one home port for cruise ships in the Caribbean and continues to be one of the most popular cruise destinations, attracting the world's largest vessels. Additionally, based on demand, new Puerto Rico shore excursions and day tours for cruisers have been developed to respond to passenger's eagerness to explore the Island.

Puerto Rico is on its way to break cruise passenger records for the second time in three years. Puerto Rico's leading port, the port of San Juan, posted record passenger numbers in 2015 with the arrival of 1.5 million passengers. The port is now poised to break that record in the 2017-18 season with an expected 1.6 million visitors, with increased calls from Oasis-class ships plus the maiden season of MSC's Seaside. Homeport passengers are also expected to grow, as Norwegian Cruise Line returns to homeport in San Juan, joined by other industry leaders such as Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises, plus several luxury cruise lines.

The high level of cruise passenger volume is a testament to Puerto Rico's appeal to some of the largest cruise lines in the world. Docking in Puerto Rico this year, include Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival and MSC Cruises. Puerto Rico is welcoming the arrival of Quantum-class vessels and will be a port of call for the 2016 winter season for several new ships such as the Carnival Vista and the world's largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas (6780 passengers) which is scheduled to arrive in San Juan on December 28. San Juan will also be the first Caribbean home port for the Viking Cruises, with Viking Star sailing from October to April.

Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company says the cruise industry has steadily continued its growth: "The cruise business, a vibrant industry sector for us, has posted 22% growth over the previous four fiscal years." She also says that the expansion of Pier 3 in Old San Juan was a key factor in luring "mega cruise ships" to Puerto Rico including the Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, the Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and soon to arrive the Harmony of the Seas.

The island is hosting the 23rd Annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCAA) Cruise Conference and Trade Show in San Juan. One hundred executives representing nineteen cruise lines will be engaging in business discussions with attendees for the four-day event, plus over seven hundred and fifty delegates from tour operators and fellow Caribbean destinations

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 49.13 + 5.27%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 74.57 + 5.07%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.12 - 1.40%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 37.78 + 2.89%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When the former American Export liner Constitution returned to service for American Hawaii cruises in 1982 she was rechristened by one of her famous former passengers. Who was given this honor?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What ocean liner is shown in the background of the opening scene of the movie West Side Story?

Answer - The ss United States was shown in the background of West Side Story.
courtesy of Barry Vaudrin, Minneapolis, MN


Cruise News - September 26, 2016

Carnival Corporation Reports Record Third Quarter Earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc net income of $1.4 billion, or $1.93 diluted EPS, for the third quarter of 2016 compared to net income for the third quarter of 2015 of $1.2 billion, or $1.56 diluted EPS. Third quarter 2016 adjusted net income of $1.4 billion, or $1.92 adjusted EPS, was higher than adjusted net income of $1.4 billion, or $1.75 adjusted EPS, for the third quarter of 2015. Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains and losses on fuel derivatives and other net charges, totaling $7 million in gains for the third quarter 2016 and $149 million of losses for the third quarter 2015. Revenues for the third quarter of 2016 were $5.1 billion, $0.2 billion higher than the $4.9 billion in the prior year.

Carnival Corporation Reports Record Third Quarter EarningsCarnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted, "We delivered the strongest quarterly earnings in our company's history affirming our ongoing efforts to expand consumer demand in excess of measured capacity increases and leverage our industry leading scale. Revenues during the peak summer season were bolstered by strong performances from both our North American and European brands and across all major deployments including the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe," Donald added.

Key metrics for the third quarter 2016 compared to the prior year were as follows:

• Gross revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") increased 0.6 percent. Net revenue yields on a constant currency basis increased 2.7 percent for 3Q 2016, toward the top end of the June guidance range of up 2 to 3 percent.

• Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD decreased 0.2 percent. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD on a constant currency basis increased 5.5 percent, better than June guidance of up 6 to 7 percent, due to the timing of certain expenses.

• Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and changes in currency exchange rates increased earnings by $0.02 per share.

Highlights during the third quarter included the grand opening of the Arison Maritime Center in Almere, Netherlands, named for Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman Micky Arison and his father, the late Ted Arison, who founded the company. The 110,000-square-foot purpose built facility is a major expansion from the existing training center that opened in 2009. The center will provide comprehensive safety and skills training for bridge and engineering officers. The facility includes four bridge and engine room simulators and is expected to train over 6,500 officers annually across the company's 10 brands.

Carnival said that it also signed a memorandum of agreement with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku for the construction of three new 180,000-ton cruise ships. Two of the ships, to be built in Finland, will be added to the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in 2020 and 2022. The third ship, to be constructed in Germany, will join the P&O Cruises UK fleet in 2020. All three vessels will be fully powered by Liquefied Natural Gas, the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel. In conjunction with these new ship orders, the delivery dates for two previously contracted ships, one for AIDA Cruises and one for Costa Cruises, will shift from 2020 to 2021 to ensure a measured pace of capacity growth over the coming years.

Outlook

At this time, cumulative advance bookings for the first half of next year are ahead of the prior year at considerably higher prices. Since June, booking volumes for the first half of next year are lower than the prior year, as there is less inventory remaining for sale, at significantly higher prices.

Carnival said that it continues to expect full year 2016 net revenue yields to be up approximately 3.5 percent compared to the prior year, on a constant currency basis. Carnival said that it continues to expect full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD to be up approximately 1.5 percent compared to the prior year, on a constant currency basis.

Taking the above factors into consideration, Carnival said that it has increased its full year 2016 adjusted earnings per share guidance to be in the range of $3.33 to $3.37, compared to the June guidance range of $3.25 to $3.35 and 2015 adjusted earnings per share of $2.70.

Donald commented, "We are well on track to deliver nearly 25 percent earnings growth in 2016. With cash from operations expected to reach a record $5 billion this year, we continue to fund our growth and return cash to shareholders. During the third quarter we repurchased $700 million of Carnival Corporation shares bringing the cumulative total to $2.5 billion in share repurchases over the past year."

Donald added, "Looking forward, we are well positioned for continued earnings growth given the current strength of our booking and pricing trends in 2017."

Fourth Quarter 2016 Outlook

Fourth quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up approximately 3 percent compared to the prior year. Fourth quarter constant currency net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD are expected to be higher by approximately 1 percent compared to the prior year. Based on the above factors, Carnival said that it expects adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter 2016 to be in the range of $0.55 to $0.59 versus 2015 adjusted earnings per share of $0.50.

Carnival Corporation Cruise Joint Venture Signs Memorandum of Agreement to Order First New Cruise Ships Built in China for the Chinese Market
Carnival Corporation today announced that its cruise joint venture in China has signed a non-binding memorandum of agreement (MOA) to order the industry's first new cruise ships built in China for the Chinese market. The MOA is subject to several conditions including closing of the joint venture, financing and other key terms.

Carnival Corporation Cruise Joint Venture in China Signs Memorandum of Agreement to Order First New Cruise Ships Built in China for the Chinese MarketAs part of the new MOA, Carnival Corporation's cruise joint venture in China agreed to order two new cruise ships to be built by a newly formed China-based shipbuilding joint venture between China's largest shipbuilder, China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), and Italy-based Fincantieri S.p.A., the world's largest cruise shipbuilding company. The MOA also grants Carnival Corporation's cruise joint venture the option to order two additional China-built cruise ships.

Carnival Corporation's cruise joint venture in China will operate the new ships as part of its plans to launch the first multi-ship domestic cruise brand in China. Based on Carnival Corporation's Vista-class platform, the design for the new ships will be tailored for the new Chinese cruise brand and the specific tastes of Chinese travelers. The first of these ships is expected for delivery in 2022.

The partners signed the memorandum of agreement at a signing ceremony held today at the 11th annual China Cruise Shipping and International Cruise Expo (CCS11) in Tianjin, China.

Carnival Corporation's cruise joint venture – a partnership announced last fall with CSSC and China Investment Capital Corporation (CIC Capital) in which Carnival Corporation holds a minority interest – is expected to initially launch its new domestic Chinese cruise brand using ships that are purchased from Carnival Corporation's existing fleet and homeported in China. Based on the MOA announced today, the joint venture would then add new China-built cruise ships starting in 2022 to further accelerate growth in the Chinese cruise market, which is expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world.

Separately, Carnival Corporation and its Chinese partners also announced today that the Chinese central government has now granted approval for the cruise joint venture to officially incorporate in Hong Kong. This news follows a standard regulatory approval process with Chinese officials that has taken place since the joint venture agreement was originally announced in London in October 2015.

"We are excited about the potential for the first new cruise ships to be built and deployed in China for the enjoyment of Chinese travelers, which will be an important milestone in the development of the Chinese cruise market," said Alan Buckelew, global chief operations officer for Carnival Corporation. "As we work with our Chinese partners to launch the first domestic Chinese cruise brand in the next few years, being able to offer cruises on China-built cruise ships represents a new opportunity for us to generate excitement and demand for cruising amongst a broader segment of the Chinese vacation market, which is already the largest in the world and continues to see strong growth every year."

Buckelew added: "We see this collaboration with CSSC and Fincantieri as a potential cornerstone of a domestic cruise presence in China, serving Chinese guests with world-class cruise ships that are built in China for the first time. We are grateful to have this opportunity, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership as we continue supporting China's goal to be one of the world's leading cruise markets."

On Cruises, Some Passengers Have Fun Learning Skills Like Fencing, Making Beer - and How to Make Those Towel Animals
People love cruise vacations for enjoying the sea, exploring new sights, having fun, getting active and spending time with family and friends, or maybe for simply taking a break from work and life. But along the way, don't be surprised if you learn more than you expected.

On many ships you'll find enrichment programs that include dancing lessons and cooking demonstrations. You can learn to play bridge or sign up for a mixology class to discover secrets to creating exotic cocktails. Some onboard educational opportunities go way beyond the expected, even into cerebral territory.

Fencing is among several skills that some passengers on cruise ships enjoy learning while on vacationFor instance, on cruises to the Dominican Republic or Cuba on Carnival Corporation's new cruise line, Fathom, passengers attend workshops created with The Stanford Storytelling Project. Classes include "The Story of You."

"We're equipping people with the storytelling tools to tell their own story about who they are and this great moment of change in their lives," said Ted Howes, Fathom's director of product and experience. "We all have stories to tell – and storytelling is a powerful tool both personally and professionally." Included is a storytelling festival on board where guests share their experiences and a video booth where stories can be uploaded to social media.

On Holland America Line ships, Microsoft-trained Digital Workshop hosts lead popular classes on how to use Photo Gallery and Movie Maker, including outlining ways to showcase the cruise experience for the folks back home. You can also pick up other tech skills in the digital workshop powered by Microsoft classes.

Holland America Line's On Location brings a local focus. In New Zealand, for instance, a six-person Maori troupe resides shipboard teaching the haka and poi dances as well as other cultural rituals. In Hawaii, you can learn fresh flower lei making or how to play a tune on a ukulele.

"The On Location program is about being emotionally and intellectually connected to the places you are visiting," said Roger Hawk, Holland America Line's senior manager of cruise programming.

Guests can also be immersed in the natural world thanks to Holland America Line's partnership with BBC Earth. Programming includes screenings of documentaries and events such as an earth-themed game show and trivia contests.

On the ships of Princess Cruises, guests explore both the sea and solar system. The line has partnered with Discovery Communications for programs such as "Stargazing with Discover at Sea," where participants head to the top deck for an innovative tour of the major constellations, complete with storytelling. The session was developed with astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, who hosts Science Channel's "Outrageous Acts of Science" TV show.

Or passengers can ask questions on everything you always wanted to know about marine operations with Navigation@Sea, a program hosted by a ship officer and including a discussion of the history of navigation from ancient times to now.

For something completely different, set yourself on the road to stardom or just break out of your shell in acting workshops onboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2, the only oceanliner doing regular transatlantic service. Graduates of London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art lead the workshops; the experts also perform onboard.

Channel your inner knight (or pirate) with complimentary fencing classes on the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria oceanliners. The program was created with Leon Paul Fencing Equipment, a British company founded in 1921 by Olympic fencers (and still providing equipment for Olympic competitors). The daily, complimentary classes are taught by a fully certified instructor and open to any guest 18 and up.

For a little less energetic experience, learn about beer-making on a brewery tour onboard Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Vista, the first North American-based ship to feature a brewery. Carnival Vista's brew master leads the tours, which include samples of the three freshly made brews on board.

A whimsical activity on Carnival Cruise Line ships is learning the "skill" of creating the line's legendary towel animals, a signature element of the Carnival brand's experience. Cabin stewards make more than a million of the frogs, bunnies, elephants and other towel animals each year and hold popular sessions teaching guests some of the more than 40 designs.

Some lessons come through osmosis. For instance, on Italian line Costa Cruises ships you'll likely pick up a few words of Italian whether or not you take the line's complimentary conversational Italian classes.

On the ultra-luxury small ships of Seabourn, learning opportunity takes place both at organized Q&A sessions and informally, as you mingle with experts in their fields – the sort of folks who do TED Talks. You might get quality time with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, famed mountain climber Paul Deegan or comedian Rita Rudner. Experts from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization are also part of the Seabourn Conversations scene, sharing their knowledge on natural and cultural World Heritage sites around the world.

"Given the intimate size of our ships, you really get to know everyone and that includes our speakers," said Chris Jurasas, Seabourn's entertainment manager. "You could be attending a lecture in the morning and then have dinner with that person and continue on the topic that was discussed that day."

Seabourn also has an Artist in Residence leading hands-on watercolor classes for artistically inclined guests on longer itineraries. The creations are displayed in a shipboard gallery near the end of the cruise.

On longer P&O Cruises sailings (excluding the Britannia), both beginning and experienced painters can take inspiration from the sea and ports of call in watercolor art classes. You can purchase art materials onboard or bring your own.

Cruising from Miami, Fathom likewise has watercolor painting, but with a little something extra. In a popular "Wine and Paint" class, you create a Dominican-inspired portrait of a woman while sipping varietals.

Fathom also has unusual onboard experiential learning programs designed to compliment onshore volunteer and cultural exchange activities, and to teach a better understanding of yourself as you relate to others.

"Our programming helps orient travelers to the culture and open them up in terms of empathy for where they are traveling so they can act alongside people on shore rather than coming as tourists," said Howes.

One popular session is called "Getting to Know," where guests are shown a photo of a Dominican family and asked what they see. "It's a way of assessing whether we are looking at it through our eyes or their eyes," Howes explained.

Meditation classes are also part of the Fathom scene, as is a Lifehack Bootcamp to help interested cruisers become more effective with their time and find ways to become "changemakers" once they get back home.

"We're all looking for meaning in our lives and ways to make a difference," Howes said.

You may bring back more in terms of learning experiences from your cruise than you ever imagined.

Holland America Line Launches Partnership with America’s Test Kitchen
Holland America Line turns its culinary programming up a notch with the introduction of dynamic shipboard cooking shows produced in partnership with the long-running public television show America’s Test Kitchen, the most popular how-to-cook show on TV. Holland America Line is a sponsor of America’s Test Kitchen on public television, and is proud to make this experience possible at sea. The initiative was announced today in New York City at a press conference at the prestigious Institute of Culinary Education.

Holland America Line Launches Partnership with America’s Test KitchenHolland America Line’s shipboard Culinary Arts Center will be transformed to replicate the television set where the prominent America’s Test Kitchen TV shows are recorded for broadcast by more than 350 public television stations nationwide. Designed specifically for Holland America Line, the shipboard shows will be hosted by Holland America Line chefs trained by America’s Test Kitchen culinary experts. Shipboard cooking demonstrations and hands-on workshops — with topics ranging from shaping Asian dumplings to making the perfect pie crust — will combine foolproof, accessible recipes and cooking techniques that are rooted in the rigorous testing and science-based approach of America’s Test Kitchen.

In addition, Holland America Line guests will experience 24-hour access to episodes of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country television programs in their staterooms.

“America's Test Kitchen will bring a new take on cooking classes at sea that spans not only recipes but also the science of the cooking process. Its mission is to determine the best methods, ingredients and cooking tools — and now these discoveries will be shared with our guests,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We provide our guests with tremendously immersive and authentic experiences to enrich their travel, and America’s Test Kitchen’s commitment to delivering a quality culinary experience with a focus on learning is a perfect match.”

The planned 45-minute demo courses will feature a mix of video content, live instruction, taste tests and recipe samples. Some of the courses in development include Asian Dumplings, Salad for Two, We Love Chocolate, Everything Salmon, Getting to Know Chiles, Flavors of the Mediterranean, Meatless Monday Meals and New Italian Favorites.

Also planned are 90-minute workshops that focus on teaching a specific skill set. Proposed workshops include Perfect Pies and Handmade Pasta.

America’s Test Kitchen demo courses and workshops will begin aboard ms Westerdam October 18 for the ship’s Mexico season and on ms Nieuw Amsterdam November 13 for the Caribbean season. The program is expected to roll out fleetwide by June 2017.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.67 + 1.68%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 70.97 + 8.38%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.15 + 4.37%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 36.72 + 3.90%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What ocean liner is shown in the background of the opening scene of the movie West Side Story?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
There are two round "small windows" imbedded into two of Queen Elizabeth 2's bridge windows. These small round windows can also be found on other ships. What are they and what purpose do they serve?

Answer - The circular devices are Clear-View screens. They rotate at speed, providing centrifugal forces that throw rain and spray off them providing a clear view for the navigator. The problem with them was after a time in service, they became scoured and almost translucent, reducing their effectiveness. Conventional wipers are often preffered.
courtesy of G. Ellis, Miami, FL.


Cruise News - September 19, 2016

One Crew Member Killed, Four Injured in Harmony of the Seas Accident
One Crew Member Killed, Four Injured in Harmony of the Seas Accident One crew member was killed and four others were critically injured in an accident on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas last week. The accident happened during a test of one of the 226,963 ton cruise ship's lifeboats. According to reports from the scene the boat fell approximately 35 feet into the water while the test was being conducted during a stop at the French port of Marseille.

The 42-year old crew member who was killed was from the Philippines as were three of the injured crew members. The other injured crew member was from India.

All of the injured crew members were transported to a local hospital for treatment. Following the incident, Royal Caribbean Cruise tweeted: “We're keeping our colleagues and their families in our thoughts and prayers.”

The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.

MSC Cruises announces deployment of MSC Splendida to China
MSC Cruises revealed today that it will deploy its MSC Splendida to China as of May 2018. In connection with this, following in the footsteps of the announcement of the opening of the new MSC Cruises own office in Shanghai and a new management and operations team based there, the Company is taking another key step to further improve its ability to serve the Chinese home market.

MSC Cruises announces deployment of MSC Splendida to ChinaBuilt in 2009, 137,936 GRT MSC Splendida will also become one of the largest, most modern cruise ships operating in the region. She features 1,637 cabins, 76% of which come with a balcony and can accommodate a total of 4,363 guests.

In her new positioning, MSC Splendida will join MSC Lirica, which has been serving to great success the Chinese market since May 2016 and has recently moved her homeport to Tianjin, to serve the thriving North China market during the winter season.

Speaking earlier today at a press conference in Beijing, Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Deploying MSC Splendida to the shores of China is a further testimony of our commitment to this key growth market. In fact, since it came into service MSC Splendida has been the most popular ship for Chinese and other Asian guests cruising the Mediterranean with us.”

“MSC Splendida represents a second, strong step towards meeting the growing demand for our unique product and ultra-modern ships by Chinese guests. She will also undergo significant dry-dock enhancement in late 2017, ahead of her deployment, to further improve and customise her already amazing range of services.”

MSC Splendida will also introduce the MSC Yacht Club to the Chinese market. This is an exclusive, “ship-within-a-ship” high-end concept that is unique to MSC Cruises and is designed for the most discerning guests who desire exclusivity and privacy. Offering a broad range of private facilities, MSC Yacht Club’s guests benefit from exclusive services including a 24-hour personal butler, dedicated concierge reception as well as priority boarding and disembarkation. MSC Splendida will be the only ship to make this high-end offering available to Chinese guests in their home market.

MSC Splendida will visit many popular cruise destinations in China, Japan and Korea. Her itinerary details will be communicated short

Celebrity Solstice Set to Emerge from 8.5 Million-Dollar Makeover
Guests onboard Celebrity Solstice will soon enjoy even more exciting new offerings as the ship undergoes a bold refresh. New features include Celebrity Cruises' unrivaled "A Taste of Film" experience under the stars, authentic Japanese cuisine at Sushi on Five, a reimagined Photo Gallery, among other exciting new additions. The enhancements will further enhance Celebrity Solstice and exemplify the Celebrity Distinction.

Celebrity Solstice Set to Emerge from 8.5 Million-Dollar Makeover "Celebrity Solstice already turns heads with her beautiful design, so these lavish enhancements will ensure our guests never want to leave," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "When discussions began about what we could do to further enhance the already stunning Solsticized ship, we couldn't think of a better way to further delight guests than to offer the multi-sensory A Taste of Film experience, Sushi on Five, the savvy new Art Gallery, and all of the other glimmering finishes. We are offering a truly distinct experience."

The revitalization, which is scheduled for late October 2016, will see various enhancements and additions implemented across the ship, including:

A Taste of Film:

• Celebrity Solstice will be the first of the Solstice Class ships to offer the iconic gastronomic adventure, which pairs films that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination experience, with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests' taste buds

• A large movie screen will be added to The Lawn Club where the unique culinary experience will be hosted

• Transformative alcove-style cabanas will line the real grass lawn for additional seating and relaxation space. Guests will be able to adjust the cabanas to their preferred view as the spaces evolve throughout the day

Sushi on Five:

• Celebrity's hotly anticipated newest dining endeavor will be reimaged from what was once Bistro on Five and feature an expertly crafted à la carte menu. The new menu, curated by sushi chef Yoshikazu "Yoshi" Okada, offers hand-rolled sushi, fresh tableside grated wasabi, house-made soy sauce, Asian-inspired cocktails, Japanese beers and premium sakes, plus an array of mouth-watering starters and entrees

The revitalization of Celebrity Solstice will also see the following new distinct additions:

• Suites onboard will have various modern luxury enhancements, including lavish new patio furniture being added to suite balconies

• Celebrity Solstice's Photo Gallery will receive a full modern luxury makeover, removing the traditional panel display of printed photos:The new Photo Gallery will include 25 state-of-the-art touch screen kiosks where guests will be able to view their professional photos taken throughout their cruise vacation and purchase a variety of photo formats. This new service allows guests to download their purchased photos direct to their mobile device at any time during their cruise, and instantly share their cruise memories with friends and family back home via social networking, email or messaging.

• In addition, an expansive Art Gallery will emerge from the current Photo Gallery, featuring a dedicated auction location with contemporary art lining the freshly renovated space

Celebrity Solstice is scheduled to enter dry dock in Singapore on October 22, 2016, and will emerge on October 31, 2016. The revitalized ship will arrive just in time for the hotly anticipated transition into Australia's summer season, featuring a series of jaw-dropping itineraries, including stops to the gorgeous green expanses of New Zealand, the exotic escape of Indonesia, and to sought-after ports of call across the continent of Australia.

Fathom Adds New Shore Excursions to Cuba Sailings
Fathom, Carnival Corporation's 10th and newest cruise brand, has added three new shore excursions to its already-popular selection of in-country experiences for its week-long cruise vacations in Cuba. The new excursions follow Fathom's recent announcement that it is adding two new sailing dates to Cuba on Oct. 9 and Nov. 6, the result of high pent-up demand by travelers choosing to explore Cuba with Fathom, the only U.S. cruise line sailing from the U.S. to the largest and most enticing destination in the Caribbean.

Fathom Adds New Shore Excursions to Cuba SailingsBeginning with the Sept. 18 sailing on the MV Adonia, Fathom travelers may now choose from three additional on-shore adventures that have been added to the already-popular list of activities and experiences available during the cruise. These new excursions include:

• Walking in the footsteps of one of the country's most famed former residents by visiting Ernest Hemingway's home, watering holes and hangouts, including the small village that inspired The Old Man and the Sea, his Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning book.
• Venturing outside Havana to explore the lush Cuban countryside and small communities.
• Experiencing the combination of revolution, rum, religion and salsa in Santiago de Cuba. The tour includes visits to Cuban hero Jose Marti's grave and home of Cuba's patron saint during Fathom's fascinating and off-the-beaten-path excursion into the Sierra Maestra mountain range along the island's eastern side.

These three new offerings augment an already full set of fun, one-of-a-kind experiences developed specifically for Fathom travelers. The variety of excursions provides plenty of options to enjoy the island and its people, food, music, architecture, culture and history, which have already generated high satisfaction ratings from Fathom travelers.

All Fathom-sponsored activities are designed with comfort and entertainment in mind and every detail is handled so travelers can make the most of their time in the country.

Travelers need to unpack their suitcases just once, and never have to worry about how they will get from one location to the next. Fathom takes care of all those details and even provides traveler visas and medical insurance in Cuba.

"One of the beautiful things about traveling to Cuba with Fathom is that travelers spend less time planning and more time playing," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom. "Our guests quickly learn they want to cherish every single minute they spend in Cuba and discover what makes the island such a special place. We have experienced very high demand from travelers wanting to go on an adventure to Cuba with the comfort, convenience and peace of mind that comes with traveling with Fathom. The word is spreading: Going on a cruise with Fathom to Cuba is the best way to visit Cuba."

Because Fathom is focused on ensuring travelers maximize their time on-shore to enjoy more of each destination, Fathom remains in each country for an extended time. Cuba travelers have a total of almost four full days on-shore in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba.

"We want the Fathom Cuban experience to be unlike anything travelers have ever before encountered, so we created unique and exciting adventures to take travelers up close and personal into the heart of three very distinct Cuban cities – Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos," said Russell. "And, with the introduction of three new fantastic, engaging experiences on the ground, Fathom travelers have even more opportunity to get off the beaten path to absorb the rich fabric of Cuban society."

On-shore tours also provide ample time for travelers to explore sites on their own, as well as stops along the way to dine on authentic Cuban cuisine or sip rum and coffee with the locals.

Additional details about the new tours include:

• In Hemingway's Footsteps (Five hours) – Ernest Hemingway fans and curious travelers will see Havana through the eyes of the famed author. From the cobblestone streets of Old Havana to the shores of fishing village Cojimar, the spirit of Hemingway is immortalized in bars, museums and recipes. Travelers may follow in Hemingway's footsteps as they explore the streets he once called home.

Travelers visit Hemingway's home "Finca Vigia," stop by his favorite fishing spot and inspiration for "The Old Man and The Sea" – the village of Cojimar – step into the room in which Hemingway wrote "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and grab a bite and drink at one of his favorite restaurants or watering holes.

The excursion includes lunch and refreshments.

• Beyond Havana: Exploring the Cuban Countryside (Nine hours) – Travelers will have a rare opportunity to experience rural life in Cuba as they crisscross the countryside known for its coffee and sugar production. One highlight is Las Terrazas, developed in the 1960s as part of Cuba's Green Revolution and recognized today as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Las Terrazas has become an ecotourism hotspot and a sustainable community model for artists, farmers and families utilizing organic farming and medicine. Travelers can interact with doctors who transform flora and fauna into alternative medicines, visit the vibrant art community and organic farms, and wander the ruins of a former French coffee plantation. Cuban coffee sipped inside a biosphere may be the best in the world.

The tour includes lunch at one of Las Terrazas' locally sourced restaurants and refreshments throughout the day.

• Magic of Santiago Featuring El Cobre (Six hours) – Travelers looking to experience the coming together of revolution, rum, religion and salsa will not want to miss this tour of Santiago de Cuba – Cuba's former capital and the third of three destinations during the week-long cruise to Cuba. Starting downtown in picturesque Antonio Maceo Revolution Square, travelers proceed to the final resting place of famed Cuban hero Jose Marti before touring San Juan Hill, home to the Rough Riders assault during the Spanish-American War.

The tour ventures beyond the limits of the Santiago city center into the Sierra Maestra mountain range for the city of El Cobre, a historic copper mining town with African influence. Here travelers will visit the famous Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, where they will hear about the role religion plays in the daily lives of local communities while learning about the history of the shrine and the impact made during the Pope's visit in September 2015.

Travelers also will have the option to attend a mass (when available), as well as listen to the sounds of the city's famed steel drum band, El Cobre.

Travelers interested in heading off on their own also have the option of self-certifying with approved People to People activities. For example, travelers may choose to take a spin around Havana in a mint-condition classic American car, sample a variety of richly-flavored Cuban rum, groove along to lively Cuban rhythms at a tropical Cabaret, or enjoy an authentic Cuban meal in one of Cuba's many distinctive restaurants. The choices for fun, entertainment and exploration are virtually limitless.

Financial Highlights
The Board of Directors of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today declared a quarterly dividend of $0.48 per common share payable on October 13, 2016, to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 29, 2016. This move reflects the company's continuing efforts to increase shareholder returns.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 45.90 + 1.50%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 65.48 - 3.02%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.06 + 1.98%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 35.34 + 0.26%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
There are two round "small windows" imbedded into two of Queen Elizabeth 2's bridge windows. These small round windows can also be found on other ships. What are they and what purpose do they serve?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
The French Line's Normandie featured a distinctive covering over the forward deck that concealed the anchor chains, deck gear and mooring lines. What was this covering called?

Answer - I believe this feature was called a "whaleback". This same feature graces the Norway, the former France.
courtesy of Chris Vincent Las Vegas, NV


Cruise News - September 12, 2016

Royal Caribbean Looking for Nominations For Godmother Of Harmony Of The Seas6
The world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas, may boast seven distinct neighborhoods, unparalleled dining and entertainment, and thrilling features like the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, but there is one thing she is missing… her godmother. Harmony of the Seas will make her U.S. debut this November when she arrives into her new homeport of Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., introducing a new era of vacationing that will thrill guests of all ages. To celebrate, the South Florida-based cruise line is partnering with South Florida ABC affiliate Local 10 to look in their own backyard for a woman who is inspiring the next generation to dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo, and has launched a contest to honor this hometown hero by naming her godmother of Harmony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley shows off the cruise line's newest ship, Harmony of the Seas.South Florida residents are encouraged to visit www.local10.com/godmother and nominate a mentor, educator or teacher whose passion for education and a better tomorrow inspires students to make a positive impact on the world. The winner will not only be honored as godmother of Harmony of the Seas during the ship's official naming ceremony on November 10, 2016, but a $25,000 grant will also be awarded to her school or non-profit organization to fund education initiatives that will further her mission to inspire South Florida's youth. In addition, the godmother will have the opportunity to host a "field trip" for those whose lives she has influenced to be her guests at the Harmony of the Seas naming ceremony, and will set sail later that evening with three guests on a two-night pre-inaugural cruise. She will also receive a future seven-night cruise for two onboard the ship. The contest is open to volunteers, full- and part-time employees at of a school or educational organization in Miami-Dade County, Broward County or Palm Beach County. Self-nominations are also accepted. Nominees must be legal residents of Florida and 21 years of age or older at time of nomination and nominators must be 13 years of age or older as of date of entry. Official Rules can be read by visiting www.local10.com/godmother. The Entry Period for nominations ends on September 23, 2016.

Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley shows off the cruise line's newest ship, Harmony of the Seas. "Royal Caribbean's legacy is built on a dream that began in a small trailer on Biscayne Boulevard," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "That's why when we thought about the godmother for Harmony of the Seas, a ship that is not just the world's largest, but the ultimate expression of our history and future, we knew that we wanted to pay tribute to our roots and community with this designation. Who better to welcome Harmony home than an outstanding woman who is inspiring the dreamers and innovators of South Florida's next generation."

A maritime tradition and honor historically reserved for heads of state, politicians and celebrities, godmothers not only break a bottle to christen a ship, but also serve as guiding spirits to its guests and crew. Royal Caribbean looks to capture the essence of the role by choosing women whose life lessons and achievements illustrate the kind of courage, dedication and determination that are an inspiration to all. For more information on the maritime tradition of ship godmothers, visit www.royalhometownhero.com.

Harmony of the Seas will arrive at her homeport of Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in November 2016, and will offer seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings. The newest member of the fleet will join sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, homeported in Port Canaveral and Port Everglades respectively, on the east coast of Florida.

Harmony of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship with the world's best features. Nowhere else on land or sea can travelers find such a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences, imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, including VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. Harmony combines the iconic seven neighborhood concept that sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are known for, with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities and offerings that will appeal to guests of all ages. From The Ultimate Abyss, a dramatic 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including Broadway's hit musical Grease and distinct high diving, acrobatic performances in the ship's trademark Aqua Theater, sophisticated dining in venue's ranging from Jamie's Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Royal Caribbean's whimsical restaurant Wonderland, which is a unique culinary adventure for the senses, and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for everyone onboard Harmony of the Seas.

Harmony of the Seas spans 16 guest decks, encompasses 227,000 gross registered tons, carries 5,497 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,747 staterooms.

Roberto Martinoli is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Silversea Cruises
Silversea cruise line, today announced the appointment of Roberto Martinoli as Chief Executive, effective from September 19th.

Roberto Martinoli is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Silversea CruisesMartinoli, Board Member of Silversea since 2013, becomes CEO after an extensive, and successful career in the cruise and shipping industry, “Roberto is a dedicated professional with a long track record of driving great companies to even higher heights. I am certain that he will be instrumental in pushing Silversea Cruises to consistently deliver unrivalled levels of luxury, service and business performance”, said Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Executive Chairman of Silversea Cruises.

“I have known Manfredi for many years as a peer and a colleague, I have worked closely with the Silversea team in my role as a Board member for the past 4 years, and I am excited to have been given the opportunity to further develop my relationship with this fantastic brand as it enters this new phase of growth”, said Martinoli.

Based in the company’s headquarters in Monaco, he will report directly to Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Executive Chairman of Silversea Cruises.

Martinoli replaces Enzo Visone as CEO.

Fathom Brand Adds Two Cuba Cruise Dates in Fall 2016
Fathom, Carnival Corporation's 10th and newest cruise brand, has added two Cuba sailing dates for fall 2016 – the result of strong pent-up demand by travelers choosing to take a cruise vacation to explore Cuba with Fathom, the only U.S. cruise line sailing from the U.S. to one of the most desired destinations in the Caribbean.

Carnival to Build Three New LNG-Powered Cruise ShipsThe additional cruises will take place the weeks of Sunday, Oct. 9, and Sunday, Nov. 6. For both week-long cruises, Fathom's Adonia will depart Port Miami on Oct. 9 and Nov. 6 for three destinations in Cuba, including two days in Havana. The Adonia will return to Miami on the following Sunday for each of the cruises. Bookings are now being accepted for both voyages through travel agents or via Fathom's website (www.Fathom.org) or calling Fathom toll-free at 1-855-932-8466.

"Carnival Corporation made history when Fathom arrived in Havana on May 2 of this year, and we continue to strengthen our relationships as the only U.S. cruise company sailing to Cuba from the U.S. – and we are very grateful to Cuban officials for granting us two new dates to accommodate more travelers wanting to sail with Fathom to visit their remarkable country," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom, referring to the first time in more than 40 years a U.S. cruise line has sailed from the U.S. to Cuba.

"Since our inaugural voyage in early May, we have experienced strong, continued demand from travelers wanting to travel to Cuba with the comfort, convenience and peace of mind that comes with cruising with Fathom. Our bookings for the fall are strong, and the word is spreading: Going on a cruise with Fathom to Cuba is the best, easiest and most enjoyable way to visit this unique country."

Added Russell: "Because demand is so strong, we encourage travelers to book as soon as possible for the October 9 and November 6 cruises, as we expect brisk sales for the new sailings on our small premium ship, the Adonia. For people interested in other dates for our Cuba sailings, we are almost sold out for the year with only a small number of staterooms available for a few remaining fall cruises to Cuba, and we have extremely strong demand for 2017."

Fathom's seven-day cruises from Miami to Cuba visit the historic ports of Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. In post-cruise surveys, Fathom guests are giving high marks for a great experience at all three destinations, which would otherwise be challenging to visit, and on the Adonia, which houses 700 travelers, providing a sense of intimacy that guests are enjoying.

The experience includes Fathom's unique shore excursions -- featuring several included in the overall price of the cruise -- that provide travelers with fun and engaging options for enjoying the country. Some highlights include the island's famously friendly people, Spanish and French colonial architecture, traditional Cuban music and dance, restaurants with genuine Cuban cuisine, museums, cathedrals, coastal fortresses, the cannons on San Juan Hill, the shores of Cojimar that were Ernest Hemingway's favorite fishing village, and lively nightlife including the famous Tropicana Club, and much more.

Fathom's travelers self-certify and can enjoy the island with approved activities.

Highlights of each destination include:

• Havana: Cuba's colorful capital is best known for the Spanish-influenced architecture of Old Havana, the classic American cars that cruise the island and its thriving nightlife. But its historic castles, fortresses, cathedrals, mansions and public buildings vie for attention with the city's lively music and entertainment scene, an eclectic and sophisticated mix of museums, art galleries, music, dance and open-air festivals that take full advantage of the island's sunny Caribbean climate.
• Cienfuegos: This coastal city is the center of Cuba's sugar, tobacco and coffee trades, and is known to Cubans as the Pearl of the South for its collection of French-influenced Neoclassical buildings and wide seaside boulevards, with a downtown that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Near the entrance to the city's spectacular natural bay stands the great stone fortress of Castillo de Jagua, built in 1745 to protect the city against pirate attacks. The city offers a chance to enjoy musical performances, delicious food and charming settings.
• Santiago de Cuba: Capital of the Spanish colony of Cuba from 1522 to 1589, Santiago de Cuba is considered the birthplace of salsa dancing and the Cuban revolution. With its watchtowers and cannons used in the Spanish-American War still well-preserved, Cuba's second largest city is home to the popular festivals of Carnaval and the Fiesta del Fuego, as well as to many of the country's most famed musicians and artists and some of its most-visited historic sites.

A highly popular element of Fathom's Cuban cruise vacation is enjoying the island while staying and sailing on the intimate and well-appointed Adonia, with guests appreciating the amenities of a modern hotel and convenience of unpacking their suitcases just once, with dining, entertainment and specially designed programs about Cuba part of the cruise. Another popular benefit: Fathom takes care of providing traveler visas and medical insurance in Cuba for its guests.

"Our travelers love that Fathom does all of the intricate planning so they can spend more time having a fun and memorable travel experience," Russell said. "Our guests also love knowing that when they are done exploring, they can return to the Adonia and relax and rejuvenate with excellent food, entertainment, and a beautiful spa. Many of our guests enjoy trading stories about their adventures with their fellow travelers. It is a fantastic way to experience such an enchanting country, and it makes for an unforgettable trip to always remember."

"Cruising aboard Fathom was the perfect way to travel to Cuba – the experience blew me away," said Kimberli McCallum, a recent Fathom traveler from St. Louis. "It was my first cruise and I can't believe how much I loved it! My husband and I were sitting on our cabin's balcony one evening wondering why we had waited so long to cruise. Plus, visiting Cuba was better than I ever imagined. Havana is so beautiful and the art, the music and the people were all amazing!"

Seven-day itineraries on Carnival Corporation's Fathom brand generally depart from PortMiami on Sundays at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The ship arrives at its first destination, Havana, the following morning (Monday) at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. The Adonia returns to its homeport, PortMiami, at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time the following Sunday.

Celebrity's "Celebrity Distinction" Makes Sailing the Waters of the Mediterranean a One-of-a-Kind Experience
Gaze at the sapphire-blue waters of the Mediterranean; explore Europe's most iconic cities; sample local, seasonal ingredients; and soak in the warm sun and breathtaking sunsets onboard a Celebrity Cruises ship. The modern luxury cruise line, which has been named best cruise line in Europe*[i] for six consecutive years, has added more Mediterranean sailings for 2017, and is bringing distinct experiences to guests through a variety of new onboard activities and culinary indulgences. In 2017, Celebrity will offer 40 unique itineraries in Europe, 109 Uniquely Celebrity Shore Excursions in the region, and 61 overnight stays in 19 different European cities. This is the Celebrity Distinction.

elebrity's "Affluent travelers are looking for one-of-a-kind, enriching offerings in Europe, so we are continuing to raise the bar by providing guests with even more modern luxury European getaways to the most sought-after locations," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "Because Celebrity was born in Europe, our guests entrust us to unveil the most charming locations and sumptuous cuisine. We will continue to create distinct, culturally-rich experiences for travelers who want to discover Europe in beautiful, modern luxury style. We're Europe's premium cruise line, and we have the awards to prove it."

Lutoff-Perlo added: "We've even gone one step further to envelope our guests in the local culture and cuisine of Europe, by adding new exceptional onboard experiences. Vacationers can now participate in enriching culinary and educational activities that will excite any age."

Modern Luxury Lives in Europe:
Celebrity continues to be prominent in Europe, offering 69 sailings from the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, onboard four award-winning ships – Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Silhouette. The modern luxury brand has the most verandas of any premium cruise line in Europe, and the youngest fleet - just two of many examples of what makes Celebrity so distinct.

Celebrity's newest ship, Celebrity Reflection, has doubled the amount of sailings offered to the ship's iconic best of Europe's three Riviera's – the French, Italian and Spanish coastlines – and now offers eight 11-night "Best of the Western Mediterranean" sailings, giving guests more opportunities to experience this one-of-a-kind fruitful itinerary. The luxurious sailing features stops in a multitude of beloved European destinations, including the charming Florence/Pisa (La Spezia), Italy, Nice (Villefranche), France and Gibraltar, the United Kingdom, and four different stops in Spain, including an overnight stay to enjoy Barcelona's dynamic nightlife.

For 2017, Celebrity Constellation will set out on an assortment of glamorous nine- and 10-night sailings that take guests to prime Mediterranean destinations, including new ports of call for Celebrity – the extravagant, culture-rich city of Monte Carlo, Monaco and Sète – offering unparalleled insights into some of the region's hidden delights.

One-of-a-Kind Destination Experiences:
Once in port, guests can experience the heart of a destination famous for its rich history, breathtaking views and culinary delights. Vacationers can join one of Celebrity's shore or overnight excursion offerings, or a multi-day adventure, offering guests the opportunity to embrace the character and richness of bucket-list cities and exotic locales over multiple days ashore. Celebrity's vast excursion lineup offers more than 150 Uniquely Celebrity Shore Excursions, including:

Theatrical Play "Antigone" by Sophocles – History seekers will adore this theatrical performance of Sophocles' "Antigone," in Mykonos. The thrilling play, written in 441 B.C., is one of the most famous of the Greek tragedies. After the play, attendees will explore Mykonos and enjoy the culinary indulgences of this electric city Portofino and Italian Riviera Land and Sea Tour – Discover the beauty of the Italian Riviera, exploring Portofino and two other pearls of Italy's storied and romantic Gulf of Paradise. Begin with a winding, cliff-side drive to Santa Margherita, sail the yacht-filled, turquoise waters of Paraggi Bay of Portofino and explore Rapallo to see its famous 16th-century castle

Belgium Chocolate Workshop – Foodies can explore the chocolate capital of Belgium on a guided walking tour through Market Square and on to a chocolatier's workshop to see first-hand how fine Belgian chocolates are made

Catherine Palace and Amber Restoration Workshop – During a visit to St. Petersburg, Russia, culture seekers will visit Catherine Palace, the splendid summer residence of the Russian tsars, with a tour of the world-famous Amber Room and experience an Amber restoration workshop

Signature Event Sailings:
Celebrity also offers sailings to coincide with three of Europe's most iconic events. The Signature Event Sailings include a visit to The French Open in June 2017 onboard Celebrity Eclipse, and two special sailings to The British Open onboard Celebrity Silhouette departing in July 2017. Celebrity Silhouette will also offer two additional Signature Event Sailings to the spectacular Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August 2017. These unique experiences are exclusively offered through Celebrity.

Summer Camp at Sea, for Children and Adults:
Celebrity is now introducing the exclusive "Summer Camp at Sea," on all European sailings, allowing children to enjoy a vacation that moves beyond purely entertainment, to also deliver enriching and inspiring activities. From offering the "Creation Station" program that allows children to express themselves creatively, to putting their chef skills to the test with a cooking at sea program, children ages 3-17 have a range of one-of-a-kind educational activities at their fingertips.

Taste of Europe:
Food lovers can partake in the excitement too, with Celebrity Cruises' newest culinary program - only available on Celebrity. The modern luxury brand is bringing a taste of Europe to travelers with its new Taste of Europe program, which offers complimentary events for adults at sea. Events include a culinary demo with Celebrity featured chefs, mixology demos and one of the biggest wine tastings at sea. Exclusive events are also available for a fee, including a fresh pasta and mozzarella making class (followed by lunch in Tuscan Grille), and an exclusive five-course tasting dinner with Celebrity chefs.

Adults looking to be fully engrossed in culinary indulgences can partake in the Taste of Europe Premium Package. This luxurious package gives guests a taste of all of the culinary, wine and cocktail indulgences available onboard Celebrity Cruises. From the Chef Market Discovery excursion to a "Blentique" wine blending class to a Riedel Wine comparison workshop, guests’ taste buds will be pampered throughout their sailing.

Norwegian Jewel Retrofitted with Gas Scrubber Technology
conjunction with its Eco-Smart Cruising program, Norwegian announced today the successful completion of the retrofitting of a new Exhaust Gas Scrubber system on Norwegian Jewel, aimed at significantly reducing air emissions and the ship’s environmental footprint.

Norwegian Jewel Retrofitted with Gas Scrubber TechnologyNorwegian Cruise Line is the first cruise line to retrofit a vessel while it is in service with an Exhaust Gas Scrubber Hybrid system. Norwegian Jewel’s new lightweight in-line scrubbers are a hybrid technology developed by Yara Marine Technologies that are able to operate in Dry mode, Open loop and Closed loop. Five scrubbers were installed, one per engine, covering the whole propulsion system. Collectively, they are capable of reducing the emission of sulfur to air up to 99 percent and also reduce 85 percent particulate emission to the air.

Norwegian Jewel’s new technology will reduce the equivalent of approximately 1,500 tons of Sulfur Oxide, SOx, gas in the years to come as a result of this new technology. A two year project, Norwegian Jewel’s retrofitting began in spring 2014 and featured more than 100,000 man hours between numerous partner organizations to be completed.

"Norwegian is firmly dedicated to upholding the highest standards of excellence in environmental protection practices, as well as leading the industry in seeking out technology that makes our ships not only an enjoyable vacation experience, but also ensures that we continuously protect the environment that our guests love to explore" said Robin Lindsay, Executive Vice President of Vessel Operations for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

Norwegian is the first cruise line to install scrubbers with a state-of-the-art water membranes filtration unit. This sophisticated water cleaning system uses Ultrafiltration technology to clean the recirculated water during the closed loop operation down to clear water. The by-product is collected and removed in drums.

As part of Eco-Smart Cruising, Norwegian’s Safety and Environmental Protection Policy establishes several objectives relating to the environment, which include reducing the impact of its operations on the environment, disposing garbage and waste materials in accordance with national and international rules and regulations, recycling and re-using materials and establishing specific objectives and targets for continual improvement of environmental management programs.

Norwegian currently has three ships outfitted with Gas Scrubbers technology, with Norwegian Jewel joining Norwegian Escape and Pride of America. Norwegian Cruise Line is on track to meet its MARPOL Annex VI compliance goal of reducing its global sulfur cap from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent by 2020. Furthering Norwegian’s commitment to Eco-Smart Cruising, Norwegian Jewel’s sister ships, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem, will complete their scrubber commissioning within the coming weeks with Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun scheduled for retrofitting in the first and second quarter of 2017, respectively.

Carnival Sunshine Makes Inaugural Call at Portland, Maine
Talk about a unique first call celebration!

Appropriately enough, port officials also presented several lobstersTo mark Carnival Sunshine’s inaugural call at Portland, Maine, a first-call reception was held that included a traditional maritime plaque exchange between the ship’s officers and port officials. Appropriately enough, port officials also presented several lobsters which were expertly prepared for the team that evening as part of a special dinner.

Carnival Sunshine visited Portland as part of a seven-day fall foliage cruise that departed New York on Sept. 10, part of the ship’s summer schedule of four- to eight-day voyages to Canada, New England and Caribbean ports.

The 3,006-passenger Carnival Sunshine will sail from New York through October then reposition to Port Canaveral, Fla., for a winter schedule of Caribbean departures from the Space Coast.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 45.22 - 2.52%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 67.52 - 3.56%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.02 - 0.98%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 35.25 - 1.01%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
The French Line's Normandie featured a distinctive covering over the forward deck that concealed the anchor chains, deck gear and mooring lines. What was this covering called?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
From the late 1800's until the Queen Mary entered service in 1936 the names of almost all of Cunard's fleet ended in a distinctive manner. How did they end and what was the significance of the ending?

Answer - Until the introduction of QM - all Cunard ships ended their names in -ia and were named after States within the Roman Empire.
courtesy of Timothy Edgecombe, Vancouver


Cruise News - September 5, 2016

Carnival to Build Three New LNG-Powered Cruise Ships
Carnival Corporation & plc today signed a memorandum of agreement with leading German and Finnish shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku to deliver three additional next-generation cruise ships that will be fully powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the cleanest burning fossil fuel in the world. The shipbuilding agreements are subject to several conditions, including satisfactory financing.

Carnival to Build Three New LNG-Powered Cruise ShipsCarnival Corporation said two of the new 180.000 ton, 5,200 passenger, LNG-powered ships are designated for the world's most popular cruise brand, Carnival Cruise Line, and will be built by Meyer Turku at its shipyard in Turku, Finland, with delivery dates expected in 2020 and 2022.

The new ship for P&O Cruises UK will be built by Meyer Werft at its shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, with an expected delivery date in 2020. In conjunction with the order, the delivery dates for the new builds for Germany-based AIDA Cruises and Italy-based Costa Cruises for 2020 will shift to 2021 to allow the company to more effectively allocate measured capacity growth across its 10 global cruise brands in more markets throughout the world.

In total, the company now has agreements in place to build seven LNG-powered cruise ships across four of its 10 global cruise brands in coming years. As previously announced, the first of these ships is expected to be in service for AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises in 2019.

Based on Carnival Corporation's next-generation "green cruising" ship design, these new vessels will be part of the first generation of cruise ships to be fully powered by LNG, which is an industry first and an environmental breakthrough that will produce the most efficient ships in the company's history. Pioneering a new era in the use of alternative fuels that reduce air emissions, these new ships will use LNG to generate 100 percent of the ship's power both in port and on the open sea – an innovation that will significantly reduce exhaust emissions to help protect the environment and support the company's aggressive sustainability goals.

"We are proud to be at the forefront of introducing LNG-powered ships to the cruise industry, working with our partners to achieve shipbuilding breakthroughs like this that will help us produce the most efficient and sustainable ships we have ever built," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. "This is also an important step in our fleet enhancement plan that enables us to execute on our long-term strategy of measured capacity growth over time, while delivering innovative new ships that further elevate our already great guest experience. Every time we launch a new ship, we have a new opportunity to create excitement and show consumers why cruising is a great vacation at an exceptional value, especially for those who typically consider land-based vacations."

As part of its fleet enhancement plan, Carnival Corporation has already taken delivery of three new ships in 2016 for its AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line brands, and plans to launch the all-new Seabourn Encore in December 2016. Including Seabourn Encore and the three new ships announced today for Carnival Cruise Line and P&O Cruises UK, Carnival Corporation has a total of 18 new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2016 and 2022.

Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft, with roots dating back to its founding in Germany in 1795, said: "We are excited to welcome P&O Cruises back to Meyer Werft in Germany and Carnival Cruise Line back to Meyer Turku in Finland. These new ships will be built in our most modern and environmentally friendly facilities, and we are very proud to design, build and deliver these ships that provide breakthroughs in innovation and for the environment."

MSC Cruises Reveals Name Of Second Meraviglia Generation Ship
MSC Cruises revealed today the name of its second STX France-built Meraviglia-generation ultramodern mega cruise ship. She will be called MSC Bellissima and will come into service in the Spring 2019.

MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises next generation mega-ship, prior to the float out ceremony at STX France"MSC Bellissima is a name that embodies the beauty and the magnificence of this entire next generation of MSC Cruises ultramodern mega-ships, so rich with new features and amenities for guests of all ages and interests," said Gianni Onorato, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises. "We are so pleased to be able to make this announcement on the very day that her sister ship MSC Meraviglia is touched for the first time by water, a moment that symbolizes the real 'birth' of a ship."

The announcement was made earlier today at STX France's shipyard in Saint Nazaire, as the Company celebrated the float out of MSC Cruises' first next-generation ultramodern mega-ship, MSC Meraviglia, due to come into service in June 2017. The ceremony was attended by, amongst others, esteemed MSC Cruises and STX France guests, Senator of Pays de la Loire Region, Bruno Retailleau, General Council President of Loire Atlantique, Philippe Grosvalet and the Mayor of Saint-Nazaire, David Samzun.

"Since we opened sales last year for MSC Meraviglia's inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean, from the very beginning demand has been extremely encouraging," said Onorato. "This make us believe that this is a generation of ships with a bright future ahead, that has already caught the attention of vacationers from all markets."

"We are extremely proud to design and build MSC Cruises' next generations of cruise ships," said Laurent Castaing, president of STX France. "We are aware and thankful for the trust this amazing company has in our innovation ability. It's been more than 12 years that our industrial partnership has started, and we are always excited by the challenges of fulfilling MSC ambitions."

The float out is a key milestone in the construction of a ship: the dry dock is flooded, the ship is moved to a wet dock, where she then enters the final phase of her construction. Today's event presented a unique opportunity to showcase guests and global media alike the cutting edge design that makes the Meraviglia generation of MSC Cruises ultramodern mega-ships uniquely innovative, and a true destination in itself. This includes, amongst her many on-board features, the specially designed Carousel Lounge where Cirque du Soleil artists will perform shows created exclusively for MSC Cruises guests; a 315 foot long Mediterranean-style promenade with a 262 foot LED sky that runs through the center of the ship; and an enhanced MSC Yacht Club, MSC Cruises' exclusive ship within a ship luxury concept, with its own private facilities spanning three decks.

Carnival Imagination To Undergo Multi-Million-Dollar Renovation
Carnival Imagination will undergo an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation that will add a variety of exciting new food and beverage concepts.

Carnival Imagination To Undergo Multi-Million-Dollar RenovationThe new spaces will be added during a three-week dry dock taking place Sept. 4-25, 2016. Following the makeover, Carnival Imagination will resume its year-round schedule of three- and four-day Baja cruises from Long Beach, Calif. The new additions will include:

• Guy's Burger Joint,a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture

• BlueIguana Cantina, a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar

• RedFrog Rum Bar, a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red

• Alchemy Bar, a "cocktail pharmacy"-themed lounge where mixologists "prescribe" concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients with creative monikers like Forty is the New Twenty and The Restorative Basil Drop

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar, a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool

• Cherry On Top, the "sweetest spot on board" which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more

These terrific new venues complement the ship's hugely popular array of on-board features that live up to the line's motto of "Fun for All, All for Fun," including a WaterWorks aqua park with a 300-foot-long Twister slide, the Serenity adults-only retreat with oversized umbrellas and comfortable chaise lounges and the exclusive Seuss at Sea program in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

"Carnival Imagination provides a convenient, value-packed West Coast cruise option and with these new enhancements we're making this fantastic ship even better," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "With three year-round cruise ships sailing from Long Beach, Carnival is the number one cruise line in Southern California and the investment we're making to enhance the Carnival Imagination further bolsters our leadership position in this important market," she added.

Carnival Imagination operates year-round three- and four-day Baja cruises from Long Beach. On this route, three-day cruises depart Thursdays and visit Ensenada while four-day voyages depart Sundays and call at Ensenada and Catalina Island.

Carnival is the only cruise line to operate three ships year-round from the West Coast. In addition to Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration operates three- and four-day Baja cruises and Carnival Miracle offers week-long Mexican Riviera voyages. Carnival Inspiration underwent a similar renovation earlier this year and, combined with the Carnival Imagination's upcoming refurbishment, Carnival offers the highest quality short cruise options from the West Coast. Together, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Miracle carry more than 550,000 guests from Long Beach – the most of any cruise operator.

Holland America Line to Add Seventh Ship to 2017 Alaska Season
To support the increasing demand for Alaska summer cruises, Holland America Line is redeploying ms Oosterdam from Europe to The Last Frontier for the 2017 summer season. The addition brings the number of Holland America Line ships to seven in the region, with Oosterdam joining ms Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Volendam and ms Zaandam for a total of 135 Alaska departures, more than any other cruise line.

Holland America Line to Add Seventh Ship to 2017 Alaska SeasonSeven is the lucky number in 2017, as the company will celebrate its 70th year exploring Alaska. New in 2017, Eurodam will replace ms Westerdam sailing from Seattle. The addition of another Signature Class ship means more new restaurants and venues will be available for guests to enjoy on Alaska sailings.

"Our award-winning Alaska cruises are at the heart of our global itineraries, and adding Oosterdam to the region in 2017 will allow even more guests to join in celebrating the exciting milestone of our 70th year in Alaska," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "As Seattle's hometown cruise line, we're thrilled to be sailing three ships from our local home port for the next Alaska season."

Holland America Line will now offer 126 seven-day cruises and nine 14-day "Great Alaskan Explorer" sailings that begin in late April and run through late September. Highlights include 46 seven-day cruises roundtrip from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Nieuw Amsterdam, Volendam, Noordam and Zaandam. In addition, Noordam and Zaandam each will sail 18 one-way alternating north-south seven-day cruises between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska.

Oosterdam is slated to sail 21 seven-day cruises roundtrip from Seattle, Washington, from April through September. Eurodam will depart Seattle on 22 roundtrip seven-day cruises, while Amsterdam is scheduled to sail one seven-day itinerary from Seattle followed by nine 14-day Great Alaskan Explorer voyages.

Oosterdam's seven-day roundtrip Seattle itineraries will call at Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, Alaska; and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Guests on board will enjoy scenic cruising in Puget Sound upon departing Seattle, as well as in Stephens Passage and Hubbard Glacier in Alaska.

Every itinerary is highlighted by scenic cruising of Alaska's Inside Passage and one or more of Alaska's famous glaciers and fjords. Whether it's from a private verandah or out on deck, guests are in for a memorable view of Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Tracy Arm and/or the twin Sawyer Glaciers.

Stellar Line-Up Of Culinary Offerings Planned For Norwegian Joy
One word best sums up the culinary offerings that will be available to guests on board the luxurious brand new cruise ship Norwegian Joy when she starts sailing in June 2017: everything!

From Chinese hot pot, to sophisticated French haute cuisine, the freshest Japanese sushi to the highest quality American steaks and burgers, Norwegian Joy promises no less than 28 different food and beverage outlets on board – the widest array of dining experiences yet on any new ship that has been purpose built for China.

Stellar Line-Up Of Culinary Offerings Planned For Norwegian JoyEvery aspect of Norwegian's new Breakaway-Plus Class vessel, which will start sailing from Shanghai on June 28, 2017, promises to be a 'First Class at Sea' experience, and central to this - of course - is the culinary program.

Unlike other cruise lines, Norwegian offers guests the flexibility to dine when they want, where they want, from a wide range of restaurants. Only Norwegian offers the flexibility of Freestyle dining, which means no fixed dining times or pre-assigned seating. And with so many purpose built restaurants from bow to stern, guests can enjoy more dining options than days of their cruise, whenever they like.

Norwegian Joy guests will be able to enjoy a wide range of complimentary dining options, while a host of additional premium dining experiences are also available at nominal extra cost.

Among the inclusive options is the Garden Café, which will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here, guests can enjoy unlimited visits to a sumptuous buffet of international favorites. The diverse spread will feature classics of Chinese and Western cuisine as well as lively stations preparing dishes à-la-minute.

For a traditional dining experience Norwegian Joy's elegant Manhattan Room will offer a vast selection of Chinese cuisine complemented by Western-style classics such as steaks and seafood.

The aptly named Savor and Taste restaurants will also serve a wide array of Chinese cuisine, from traditional to forward-thinking Chinese fusion cuisine with pronounced Korean and Japanese accents.

Among the premium offerings, Food Republic allows diners to take a culinary tour of the world without even entering a single port of call. An eclectic menu will draw inspiration from the flavors of Japan, and even such far-flung destinations as Peru. Here, guests can indulge in an extensive sushi selection and enjoy creative fusion dishes, like Food Republic's signature hamachi taquitos.

Teppanyaki offers an authentic taste of East Asia. Here, guests can marvel at a Japanese hibachi cooking performance at their table. Diners also have the option of preparing their own meal with a selection of meats and fresh vegetables at Hot Pot restaurant Sakura & Hibiscus or Korean barbecue table. For fresh hand-pulled Chinese noodles and exquisitely crafted dim sum, there is the Noodle Bar.

The American dining options range from a sophisticated steakhouse to a classic and casual diner. Guests on Norwegian Joy will be able to experience both offerings onboard. Cagney's Steakhouse will feature premium cuts, like tender filet mignon and succulent bone-in rib eyes, as well as other classic chops, like rack of lamb. All of which can be enjoyed with classic steakhouse sides, like asparagus with hollandaise sauce or truffled French fries. Meanwhile, American Diner promises the best in American comfort, from meatloaf and potpies, to burgers and fried chicken.

The azure Pacific waves that carry Norwegian Joy from port to port will no doubt induce in passengers' craving for fresh fish, which can be satisfied at Neptune's. This seafood specialty restaurant will feature a stunning buffet of fresh seafood, both chilled and raw, on ice. Guests can enjoy an expertly prepared catch from Neptune's à la carte menu, too.

Italian and French are among the best cuisines that Europe has to offer, and Norwegian Joy will allow guests to indulge. La Cucina will specialize in a mix of contemporary Italian pastas and handmade gnocchi, along with meat and seafood dishes, while Le Bistro will serve the most refined French cuisine on the high seas.

For those with a sweet tooth, The Bake Shop is certain to quell those cravings. This boutique bakery will offer a tantalizing variety of handmade baked goods, like cupcakes, macarons, chocolate pralines, and Japanese mocha sweets, to name a few.

Finally, for liquid refreshments, Norwegian Joy will be flush with options. Venues like The Grand Tea Room will serve high-end loose leaf teas from China along with elegant snacks and high tea-style finger foods to savor on a leisurely afternoon.

Oenophiles on board can quench their thirst at La Cave. French for "The Cellar", La Cave is Norwegian Joy's source for fine wines and spirits. Guests can enjoy a glass of world-class wine or whiskey at the bar and, if they taste anything they like, they can make a retail purchase to take home with them after the cruise. After a leisurely drink or two, they may wish to retire to Humidor, Norwegian Joy's exclusive cigar lounge to relax in style.

And for guests who wish to enjoy a handcrafted cocktail, options abound, from martinis and manhattans at Mixx Bar, pre-dinner drinks at Prime Meridian, refreshing frozen poolside cocktails at Spice H20, and specialty coffees and teas at Atrium Bar.

Cunard Unveils 2018 Voyage Program
From March through December 2018, Cunard's three iconic Queens will set sail on a brand new programme of destinations and special event sailings. Guests will be able to visit extraordinary places around the globe and experience exclusive events never seen before at sea, all from the luxury and glamour of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and newly-remastered Queen Mary 2.

Cunard's three Queens - Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen VictoriaOn board every Cunard Queen, guests are welcomed to discover a wide array of entertainment and activities expertly curated to suit every taste. In addition to new itineraries, the 2018 Programme features a brand new lineup of special event cruises including high profile speakers and excursions themed around passion points to add an extra dimension to each voyage.

"On behalf of Cunard, we are proud to announce the robust 2018 Voyage Programme, comprised of exciting special event cruises and both iconic and intriguing destinations" said Richard Meadows, President, Cunard North America. "We continue to connect our guests to new destinations while delivering Cunard's quintessential experience of luxury on a grand scale."

As a benefit of booking early, Cunard is offering a complimentary drink package† and pre-paid gratuities‡ in Princess & Queens Grill Suites, as well as up to $250 Onboard Credit^ per stateroom for guests who book by June 30, 2017.

Guests of Cunard's acclaimed Princess Grill or Queens Grill Suites enjoy one of the most treasured travel experiences at sea, the standard-bearer of refined elegance. Warmly greeted in their suite by an attentive steward or butler (Queens Grill) guests enjoy an array of special Grills offerings, including choosing their preferred pillow from nine choices; having their butler unpack upon arrival; working with the Concierge to arrange activities throughout the voyage, and enjoying personalized stationery.

In addition, Grill guests enjoy the storied enclave of the award-wining Princess Grill and Queens Grill restaurants, a club-like, single-seating dining experience known for serving world-class cuisine, showcasing flavours from around the globe, and featuring an extensive a la carte menu and "order off the menu" options.

Guests booked in a Balcony stateroom will also receive an on board credit of up to $250 per stateroom, dependent on length of voyage.

2018 Special Event Sailings:

Voyage du Vin (June 1-8, 2018 / Spain and Portugal):
Wine tasting on board Queen Victoria introduces guests to some of Europe's finest wine and port destinations, along with on board lectures from experts such as Will Lyons and excursions around the Atlantic Coast with port calls in Spain, Portugal and Guernsey.

A Photographic Journey to the Land of the Midnight Sun (July 1-13, 2018 / The Fjords):
Guests on Queen Elizabeth's Norwegian Voyage will learn professional tips from esteemed photography experts such as Ross Hoddinott, one of Englands' leading wildlife and landscape photographers, and take a trip to the Arctic Circle to photograph the stunning phenomenon of the "midnight sun."

Big Band Ball (August 24-28, 2018 / Netherlands Escape):
Once again Queen Elizabeth plays host to a spectacular celebration of music and dance with a 13-piece Big Band Orchestra delighting guests with music from Glen Miller and Duke Ellington.

Transatlantic Fashion Week (September 2-9, 2018 / Westbound Crossing):
This unique experience allows guests to indulge in the glamour of fashion shows on board Queen Mary 2 while being treated to inspirational talks with some of fashion's most reputable names including the respected British fashion writer and journalist Colin McDowell.

A Journey of Genealogy (November 4-11, 2018 / Westbound Crossing):
For the first time ever Cunard has collaborated with Ancestry.com, the largest online family history resource in the world, to offer guests the opportunity to trace their family trees on the remastered Queen Mary 2.

2018 Programme Highlights:

Signature Cunard Transatlantic Voyages:
Cunard continues to be the only company offering regular service across the Atlantic and the world's only remaining true ocean liner experience – something it's been doing since 1840. In 2018 there will be 22 seven-night Transatlantic Crossings with fares from $1,199 per person, based on double occupancy.

20 Exciting Maiden Calls for the Fleet:
Rockland (United States), Sept IIes (Canada), Visby (Sweden), Riga (Latvia), Klaipeda (Lithuania), Bodo (Norway), Narvik (Norway), Hvar (Croatia), Puerto del Rosario (Spain), La Rochelle (France), Gijon (Spain), Taormina (Italy), Portree (United Kingdom), Donegal (Ireland), Haugesund (Norway), Propriano (Corsica), Portoroz (Slovenia) and Rijeka (Croatia).

Top Ten Ports Brought Back in 2018:v Fort de France (Martinique), Kingstown (St Vincent), Gdynia (Poland), Bilbao (Spain), Corner Brook (Canada), Travemunde (Germany), Helsingor (Denmark), Alghero (Sardinia), Helsinki (Finland) and Kristiansand (Norway).

Overnight Calls in Spectacular Destinations:
Funchal (Portugal), Quebec (Canada), Reykjavik (Iceland), St Petersburg (Russian Federation), Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Venice (Italy).

Evenings in Port (departures at 9:00 pm or later): v Barcelona (Spain), Bilbao (Spain), Bodo (Norway), Boston (United States), Bridgetown (Barbados), Dublin (Ireland), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Gran Canaria (Spain), Mallorca (Spain), Narvik (Norway), Oslo (Norway), Philipsburg (Saint Maarten), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Tenerife (Spain) and Venice (Italy).

Mediterranean Cruises:
An exciting and flexible Mediterranean cruise programme is available on Queen Victoria from September to November. Offering the "best of the Med" destinations covering the Western, Central and Eastern Mediterranean regions, there is a choice of three different embarkation ports (Civitavecchia, Venice, and Barcelona) and a range of 7, 9, 10, 12, 14 or 21-night options. Queen Victoria's seven-night Mediterranean cruises feature fares from $1499 per person, based on double occupancy.

Roundtrip New York:
In 2018, there will be 12 opportunities to sail roundtrip from New York on Queen Mary 2, offering guests the chance to visit the Caribbean, New England and Canada or Europe when combined with a pair of Transatlantic Crossings. Visit historic cities, beautiful landscapes, national parks of Canada and crystal clear waters with fares from $1,199, based on double occupancy.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.39 - 1.67%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 70.01 + 0.04%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.04 - 1.92%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 35.61 + 0.25%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
From the late 1800's until the Queen Mary entered service in 1936 the names of almost all of Cunard's fleet ended in a distinctive manner. How did they end and what was the significance of the ending?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When the great liners of yesterday were competing for the Blue Ribband (fastest Atlantic crossing) their speed was measured between an Eastern and Western end-point. Name the traditional Eastern and Western end-points?

Answer - When ships were competing for the Blue Ribband (fastest Atlantic crossing) their speed was measured between the Eastern point, Bishop's Rock and the Western end-point, the Ambrose Lightship.
courtesy of Jim Chase, San Diego


Cruise News - August 29, 2016

Crystal Serenity Becomes Largest Luxury Cruise Ship to Enter Northwest Passage
Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity, successfully entered the historic Northwest Passage and anchored in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories on August 27, and Cambridge Bay on August 29. The calls mark Crystal Serenity’s official arrival in the Northwest Passage – a region so remote that it was only first transited in 1906, and on only a handful of occasions since then. More than 1,000 guests on board, the largest amount of travelers to traverse the route, immersed themselves in the local culture and shared interactive moments with the Inuit residents.

Crystal Serenity Becomes Largest Luxury Cruise Ship to Enter Northwest PassageThe ship is 14 days into a 32-day journey, which will conclude in New York City on September 16.

“The arrival to Ulukhaktok, the first call in the actual Northwest Passage, was truly a memorable affair,” said Crystal Serenity Master, Captain Birger J. Vorland. “Crystal Serenity was met by our escort ship, the RRS Ernest Shackleton, as well as a fleet of Zodiacs and our two helicopters. Everybody on board was outside to marvel at this truly magnificent and sunny day as we sailed in together to the anchorage.”

Crystal Serenity’s visit to Ulukhaktok was a first for everyone, as the residents of the village had never before welcomed a luxury cruise ship to their shores. Traditional dancers boarded the ship for a special performance representative of their culture, then showcased handcrafted goods at the area’s art center. Crystal guests were brought ashore by zodiacs operated by the expedition team, Expedition Voyage Consultants.

Captain Vorland added, “One of the many highlights so far on this voyage was the warm reception the young dancers and singers from the small community of Ulukhaktok got when they performed on board during our overnight stay. Though distant in culture and background, there was in instant bonding between the guests of Crystal Serenity and the local people. On both sides there was a warm and welcoming tone rarely experienced anywhere else.”

Travelers experienced a similar kinship with the welcoming residents of Cambridge Bay, Crystal Serenity’s next Arctic call.

In addition to the residents, guests were also greeted by locals of a wilder variety. A polar bear on floating ice was a true highlight for guests navigating the chilly waters by zodiac led by expert expedition guides. The encounter was part of Crystal’s “Unexpected Adventures,” which afford guests, safe and impromptu opportunities to see wildlife and other natural wonders along the journey.

Beyond the itinerary’s historic implications, the visit to the region is also the culmination of more than three years of planning and careful collaboration with the local communities of the Arctic. Following the ship’s first two stop in the Northwest Territories, she continued on through the Victoria Strait headed towards the Bellot Strait.

“From the get-go of this epic cruise through the fabled Northwest Passage, Crystal Serenity has been filled with great excitement,” said Captain Vorland. “Everyone here, whether crew or guest, is clearly aware of the significance of this voyage. As we have ventured north and east on our passage this excitement has only grown.”

Two New Five-Day Itineraries Added to Carnival Paradise’s Year-Round Schedule from Tampa
Two new five-day itineraries – one visiting Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Cozumel and another featuring Key West and Cozumel – have been added to the Carnival Paradise’s year-round cruise schedule from Tampa, providing guests with even more exciting vacation choices from that port.

Two New Five-Day Itineraries Added to Carnival Paradise’s Year-Round Schedule from TampaTen Mahogany Bay/Cozumel and six Key West/Cozumel voyages will be offered, departing on Saturdays throughout 2017. The new five-day cruises are part of the line’s new Cozumel Plus program that provides guests with additional time in port and features a variety of unique shore excursions – swimming with whale sharks, visiting centuries-old ruins and swimming in hidden caverns, among others — offered both on the island and within mainland Mexico.

The new five-day itineraries complement the ship’s existing five-day cruises to Grand Cayman and Cozumel which depart on Saturdays and Mondays. Carnival Paradise also offers four-day cruises to Cozumel departing Thursdays, providing a value-packed “long-weekend” cruise option.

Silversea Announces $170 Million Fleet-Wide Refurbishment Plan
Silversea this week Announced a $170 Million Fleet-Wide Refurbishment Plan. According to the cruise line, this investment is not aimed at simply maintaining Silversea’s self-imposed high levels of excellence, but to reaffirm the company’s commitment to exceptional standards of guest comfort and timeless elegance.

“We are thrilled to be moving ahead with these major refurbishments and look forward to welcoming guests aboard and sharing our unique vision of ultra-luxury cruising, both in terms of service and physical environment”, said Manfredi Lefebvre, Chairman of Silversea. “We pride ourselves on being the reference when it comes to ultra-luxury cruising and this investment reflects our long-term commitment in this regard toward our ships, our guests and our crew”.

Silversea Announces $170 Million Fleet-Wide Refurbishment PlanSilver Whisper, host to the iconic World Cruise, will undergo a refurbishment that will take place by the end of 2016, and has been largely influenced by feedback from World Cruisers, proving that Silversea guests truly are at the heart of the company operations. This also ensures that 2017 World Cruisers will get to experience a top coat of luxury, and be the first guests to help massage the fresh feel into the understated glamour that the brand has become synonymous with.

The luxurious suites will be refurbished and the bathrooms adorned with dark emperor marble flooring, delivering a tangible sense of elegance that can be felt from head to toe. Public spaces will be the key beneficiaries of the bursary, where a freshly tiled pool and new chaise longues will breathe new levels of comfort and style into open air spaces. Dining areas at The Restaurant and La Terrazza will be re-skinned with plush new carpet and elegant hard-wood parquet respectively, and will each receive new furniture, echoing the theme of contemporary glamour throughout the ship and augmenting the high-quality service packaged around the finest culinary offerings at sea.

Finally, Silver Whisper’s communications hub is set for a major overhaul with the addition of two satellite antennas, vastly improving Internet speeds on board and enabling guests to take full advantage of the new, interactive TVs and on demand movies available in every suite.

The refurbishment programme extends to Silver Wind during her dry dock scheduled for October 2016. Once again, refurbishment of furniture and furnishings, technology upgrades that include interactive TVs and on demand movies complete the contemporary, yet understated levels of luxury in every suite. Additionally, the concept restaurant La Terrazza and the flagship Main Restaurant will both have new flooring bestowed upon them, enhancing the overall feel of gastronomic excellence delivered on board.

The pool deck will undergo a complete rip-and-replace approach to one of its aesthetic jewels, the exceptional teak flooring. This will reinstate the deck area as one of the most atmospheric aboard, more akin to a luxury yacht than a cruise ship, while reaffirming Silver Wind’s status as a timeless classic within the Silversea fleet.

Beyond the Classic fleet, Silver Discoverer will also benefit from this investment in 2016, entering dry dock this October. While service and suite presentation will of course be held strictly to Silversea’s high standards, it is in the public areas of this Expedition vessel where guests will see the most visible changes. The Restaurant will be remodelled with a lighter, more contemporary colour palette and the ever popular pool grill area will flaunt new furniture.

The Discoverer lounge will go through a transformation from breakfast venue to a sophisticated lounge in which to relax, read and reflect on the day’s excursions. Silversea continues to augment the expedition experience to the benefit of its guests, and this is illustrated with further investment in new AV technology in the Explorer Lounge and new furniture from which to enjoy the lectures and briefings in unbridled comfort.

Celebrity Cruises Tempts Taste Buds with Its Newest Culinary Experiences
Discerning travelers who appreciate world-class cuisine, exceptional dining, incredible ingredients and the finest wines, can enjoy new uniquely distinctive experiences when they sail with Celebrity Cruises. Guests will savor fresh, authentic Japanese dishes at new restaurant Sushi on Five, enjoy the decadent Concierge Class, delicious menus, and much more. This is the Celebrity Distinction.

"Celebrity has always been recognized for its unmatched culinary and beverage experiences. And, our guests, trade partners and our multiple award wins continue to affirm this," said Brian Abel, VP, Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises. "We are now taking our expertise to an entirely new level through our latest offerings, which are adventurous, unexpected and distinct - just like Celebrity. When you combine all of this with our passion for delivering extraordinary service and having the very best culinary talent at sea, you have a truly winning combination."

Concierge Class guests receive other luxuries including fresh fruit and sparkling wine"We continue to redefine our offerings, and the expectations of modern luxury vacationers by providing unique onboard experiences," said Cornelius Gallagher, AVP, Food and Beverage Operations, Celebrity Cruises. "From globally inspired recipes, locally sourced ingredients and freshly prepared cuisine, we want to instill even more finesse in everything we do and throughout our entire fleet. Our newest offerings are all part of crafting an unrivaled experience that only Celebrity can provide."

The modern luxury brand has premiered a variety of new exciting culinary adventures and expanded its restaurant portfolio in the past 18 months. These culinary delights include:

Onboard Culinary Experiences:

• Celebrity's Concierge Class staterooms have been redesigned to pamper travelers with a personal Concierge, five-star amenities, and an exclusive, Concierge Class Luncheon at the start of each sailing, showcasing expertly-crafted menus by Celebrity's own Michelin-starred chef, Cornelius Gallagher:
• In addition to the personal and attentive service, Concierge Class guests receive other luxuries including fresh fruit and sparkling wine upon arrival, complimentary Daily
• Delectable Delights delivered every afternoon, preferred pillows from Celebrity's extensive pillow menu and plush robes, towels and slippers.
• As part of Celebrity's "Deliver the Destination" program, travelers sailing to Alaska can now enjoy fresh, locally sourced and succulent Alaska King Crab. This decadent treat is available at the Mast Grill daily, and can be paired with Alaskan brewed ale including Alaska Brewing IPA, Pale Ale, Amber Ale and White Ale
• Travelers can take part in chef-led culinary excursions - Chef's Market Discoveries, offered in more than 40 regions across the world, to experience the local fare on land and feast on culturally inspired dishes on board.

Expanded Restaurant Portfolio:

• Celebrity's newest culinary delight, Sushi on Five, reimaged from what was once Bistro on Five, features an à la carte menu, crafted by expert sushi chef Yoshikazu "Yoshi" Okada. The new menu features hand-rolled sushi, fresh tableside grated wasabi, house-made soy sauce, plus a variety of starters and entrees paired with an array of Asian-inspired cocktails, Japanese beers and premium sakes curated by a sake sommelier
• Celebrity's Italian-inspired ristorante and enoteca, Tuscan Grille, currently onboard the Solstice Class and Millennium Class ships, showcases a new menu crafted by Chef Gallagher, Celebrity's Michelin-starred culinary lead. The menu features 100% homemade pasta, artisanal salumi and cheeses, USDA prime dry-aged steaks, as well as Celebrity's own spin on Italian regional favorites. Sip hand-crafted, Italian-inspired cocktails, house-made limoncello and choose from the wine list dedicated to the wine-growing regions of Italy.
• The new Tuscan Grille will be rolled out to Celebrity’s entire fleet by the end of Summer 2016
• An energetic, vibrant lounge onboard Solstice ships, the Sky Observation Lounge now offers new hand-crafted cocktails prepared by a flair mixologist who has been professionally trained by the world’s best Flair Bartender, Christian Delpech

And, what's still to come:

• From November 2016, Celebrity will be the first cruise line in the industry to introduce Dine Aware, the only standard for the food and beverage industry which focuses on food allergy and intolerance communication and experiences. Guests with special dietary needs will be able to dine confident with Dine Aware
• Celebrity proves no detail is too small with the soon-to-be-offered Ripple Maker, which prints personalized images and photos on cappuccinos and lattes, bringing joy to every cup
• The modern luxury brand will take customization a step further with its Blendtique™ wine blending classes, allowing guests to become a vintner for the day, creating one-of-a-kind wine blends that can be bottled onboard and customized with personalized wine labels. Guests will be able to mail order their custom blended wine to their friends and family on land. Available fleet wide by the end of 2016

Riedel Glassware, created with over 260 years of expertise in redefining modern glassware, will be Celebrity's exclusive glassware featured in the main dining rooms fleet wide by the end of 2016

The excitement doesn't stop there; guests can continue to enjoy the new Rooftop Terrace while savoring sumptuous cuisine inspired by classic films at A Taste of Film, or experience a firsthand lesson in proper grilling techniques from top Grill Masters at the Lawn Club Grill. For the romantic in everyone, the guest favorite Murano offers modern interpretations of classic French cuisine and a unique Five Senses Menu, which features six courses presented in a tasting menu, perfectly paired with world-class wine, designed to stimulate the senses.

Suite Class and Aqua Class guests can enjoy distinct private restaurants of their own. Suite Class offers exclusive access to unrivaled globally inspired modern, eclectic fare at Luminae, the highest-rated restaurant across the fleet, while Aqua Class guests can dive in to the clean, crisp flavors and contemporary cuisine at Blu.

In addition to these truly new and wonderful culinary experiences and expanded restaurant portfolio, Celebrity boasts one-of-a-kind wine offerings and world-class cocktails fleet-wide:

• The modern luxury brand offers one of the largest wine collections at sea. The main dining room wine lists, which have claimed 39 Awards of Excellence from the Wine Spectator Restaurant Wine List Awards over the last four years, host over 300 prestigious labels, including Tignanello, Grgich Hills, and Guigal Côte Rôtie. Celebrity's wine menus feature an extensive global collection of fine wines as diverse as the destinations the brand visits across the seven continents of the world
• Celebrity's team of Sommeliers navigates guests through the award-winning wine lists, guiding them to new and exciting choices. The Sommeliers also participate in ongoing education to keep them well-versed in wine theory, vintages, regional and varietal technicalities, and the most delectable food and wine pairings
• Guests can enjoy Celebrity’s newest proprietary blend "Elegance" by Kendall-Jackson, available fleet-wide
• Cocktail lovers can enjoy both classic and contemporary martinis, featuring a collection of classic and rare vodkas at Martini Bar & Crush or relish in the hand-crafted cocktail menu at World Class Bar

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 47.18 + 0.58%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 69.98 + 0.20%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.08 - 2.80%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 35.52 - 5.73%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When the great liners of yesterday were competing for the Blue Ribband (fastest Atlantic crossing) their speed was measured between an Eastern and Western end-point. Name the traditional Eastern and Western end-points?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What were the names of the three cruise ships that served as temporary housing for evacuees and workers recovering from hurricane Katrinain 2005?

Answer - The ships were three Carnival ships, Sensation, Holiday, and Ecstasy, and they were chartered to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
courtesy of Patrick Race, Berkeley CA


Cruise News - August 22, 2016

Princess Cruises Presents Majestic Princess
Princess Cruises today unveiled designs and announced key features of Majestic Princess, the newest and most luxurious ship in the global fleet. Departing April 4, Majestic Princess will sail on her inaugural voyage, a five-day Adriatic Sea cruise roundtrip from Rome with stops in Kotor and Corfu.

Princess Cruises today unveiled designs and announced key features of Majestic Princess, the newest and most luxurious ship in the global fleetFollowing her maiden cruise, Majestic Princess will tour Europe, offering guests a chance to experience the ship on 7, 14, 21 and 28 day cruises departing from Rome, Barcelona or Athens. A repositioning voyage will depart Barcelona on May 14, 2017, visiting Dubai and Singapore before arriving in Shanghai, her new home. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from its home-port in Shanghai on July 11, 2017, carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of destinations in Japan and Korea.

"Over the past 50 years, we have developed a mastery of global travel, delivering a truly international cruise vacation experience to our guests," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "With the debut of Majestic Princess, first in Europe and then in China, we invite guests to indulge in a world-class experience that allows them to completely relax, unwind and ultimately 'come back new.'"

Majestic Princess, a sister cruise ship to Regal Princess and Royal Princess, will offer its guests a variety of enticing features and experiences, including:

Global Cuisine – Exceptional culinary offerings are a pillar of the Princess guest experience, designed and executed by masterfully trained chefs from France, Italy, the United States, Australia, China and Japan, among others. They create memorable dining experiences inspired by the more than 360 exotic ports of call visited by the line annually. This is why Princess Cruises has been named "Best Cruise Line for Food Lovers" by Food & Wine Magazine.

Popular culinary offerings from sister ships Royal Princess and Regal Princess will be aboard Majestic Princess including:

• The exclusive Chef's Table Lumiere, a unique and engaging dining experience personally hosted by our Princess Executive Chef which includes a private galley tour and a multicourse dinner served at a grand custom-designed table where guests are surrounded by a glimmering curtain of light.
• The award-winning Crown Grill & Bar, an American steakhouse, preparing top-quality cuts of beef, chops and seafood in an open-kitchen served in a classically elegant restaurant setting.
• Alfredo's, named after Princess Cruises' award-winning Master Chef Alfredo Marzi, offers a selection of classic Italian and signature Neapolitan-style pizzas (voted "Best Pizza at Sea"), along with baked pasta dishes and specialty appetizers and desserts.

Two new specialty restaurants will be introduced onboard Majestic Princess. They include:

• Harmony, created in partnership with Chef Richard Chen formerly of Wynn Las Vegas "Wing Lei" (the first Chinese restaurant in North America awarded a Michelin star). Harmony will feature haute Chinese cuisine paired with pristine ocean views and modern décor, serving Chef Chen's interpretation of classic Cantonese dishes.
• Le Bistrot, located in the lively atrium, offers casual French home-style dining with a modern twist. Harkening back to an authentic Parisian bistrot, guests will enjoy traditional Escargots Casseroles, Braised Ox Tongue and Mushroom Ragout, along with baquettes, tartines, tourtes and French Patisseries.

To top it off, there will also be a wide selection of all-day gastronomy in the World Fresh Marketplace (Horizon Court buffet on other ships), where guests can taste flavors from diverse food stations around the world ranging from Mediterranean dishes, a pasta specialty counter, colorful farmer's market salads and fresh fruits and a new "East Meets West" street food specialty counter. The Bakery inside the World Fresh Marketplace will serve Western, European and Asian pastries and Danishes.

Modern & Stylish Cruise Ship Design – Influenced by fashion, art and history, the interior designs of Majestic Princess present a sophisticated and stylish visual experience representative of traveling the world. Exquisite designs use metal, glass and inlaid wood through-out to welcome guests who appreciate the elegance and glamour of premium cruising. European marble, mosaic tile floors, polished woods and sumptuous fabrics are featured onboard the ship. Plush custom-designed carpets in the guest corridors feature floral motifs that represent an Asian-inspired beauty and grace. Hand tufted area rugs also mirror floral motifs located at the entrances to the main dining rooms.

Modern & Stylish Stateroom Design – More than 80 percent of Majestic Princess' staterooms include a private balcony. All staterooms feature the new Princess Luxury bed, featuring a custom-made mattress developed by Dr. Michael Breus, the board-certified sleep expert recognized as "The Sleep Doctor." The bed also includes luxury linens designed by Candice Olson, the Canadian design-star of the hit HGTV shows "Candice Tells All" and "Divine Design." The superb bedding system is exclusively designed for the Princess SLEEP program.

World-Class Entertainment – The first two shows to be seen on Majestic Princess will be "Fiera" and "Fantastic Journey" both have been met with enthusiastic acclaim by international audiences across the Princess fleet. These musical shows feature a world-class cast of singers and dancers along with some of the most elaborate production numbers, costumes and advanced multimedia stage technology ever produced at sea. It also features Movies Under the Stars on the largest outdoor screen at sea, as well as Water Color Fantasy, a cruise industry first presenting a dazzling water and light show at sea.

Onboard Experience – Onboard Majestic Princess, guests will also experience the signature SeaWalk, the industry's first glass floor walkway at sea, and SeaView Bar featuring "flair" bartending with the best views at sea. The Piazza Atrium, the central focal point of the ship features live entertainment throughout the day and evening. It is a grand spectacle surrounded by The Shops of Princess, nearly 1,100 square meters of luxury boutiques which include designer brand shops from Cartier, Bvlgari and Chopard, leather goods from Burberry and Gucci, along with watches by these luxury brands as well as Montblanc, Longines, Rado and Tissot to name a few.

Carnival To Operate 14-Day Alaska Cruise Round-Trip - From Long Beach, CA!
For the first time, Carnival Cruise Line will offer a 14-day Alaskan adventure round-trip from Long Beach, Calif., in September 2017 featuring seven spectacular destinations, including Glacier Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the line's first visit to Icy Strait Point, an unspoiled wilderness area offering some of the best whale and bear watching in the state and the world's longest zip-line.

Carnival To Operate 14-Day Alaska Cruise Round-Trip - From Long Beach, CA!The one-of-a-kind voyage -- part of the line's Carnival Journeys cruise enrichment series -- will take place aboard Carnival Miracle departing Long Beach Sept. 2 and returning Sept. 16, 2017.

In addition to a full-day sailing Glacier Bay and Carnival's inaugural call to Icy Strait Point, the 14-day cruise will feature the stunning Alaskan ports of Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka, as well as Vancouver, British Columbia. Each of these destinations offers a rich history and culture, along with awe-inspiring natural wonders, including calving glaciers, magnificent fjords and native sea and animal life. A wide range of exciting shore excursions – from helicopter flightseeing and rainforest canopy tours to hiking, canoeing and kayaking expeditions, and alpine lake snorkeling – will be available.

Guests sailing on the special 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise will also enjoy unique on-board experiences where they can sample Alaskan cuisine and enjoy local entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on a broad range of topics – everything from photography and cooking to arts and crafts and celestial navigation -- along with a 1980s-themed "Throwback Sea Day" will be offered, as well.

Carnival Legend will also offer 38 seven- and eight-day Alaska voyages in 2017 and 2018, including seven week-long Glacier Bay cruises next year -- the most voyages by Carnival to this region, which features majestic glaciers and other ice formations and is home to numerous whales, bears and other wildlife.

The seven- and eight-day voyages operate either round-trip from Seattle or from Vancouver to Seattle, visiting a variety of stunning ports, including Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC, plus a full-day cruising Tracy Arm Fjord or Glacier Bay.

"A Carnival Alaska cruise is like no other and with this exciting new 14-day Carnival Journeys adventure, combined with the wide variety of seven- and eight-day voyages, we're offering guests an incredible array of opportunities to get an up close and personal look at this beautiful sailing region," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival To Give $250,000 To Aid Organizations For Louisiana Flood Relief
Carnival Cruise Line and its parent company, Carnival Corporation, are giving a total of $250,000 to charitable organizations to support their efforts on behalf of victims of the Louisiana floods. The cruise line is donating $125,000 and its parent company is matching that amount through its Carnival Foundation charitable arm.

Carnival To Give $250,000 To Aid Organizations For Louisiana Flood ReliefRecipients include the American Red Cross, Louisiana Association of United Ways and Save the Children.

In addition, guests sailing on Carnival cruises from New Orleans have the option to donate when they check in for their cruise and Carnival employees are being encouraged to donate, as well.

"Having homeported Carnival ships in Louisiana for more than two decades, we very much consider ourselves a part of the community and, therefore, it is extremely important to us to provide aid to support the tens of thousands of Louisiana residents who have been affected by these devastating floods," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The American Red Cross is sheltering thousands of residents displaced by the flooding in southern Louisiana and delivering food, relief supplies and emotional support to flood victims. Donations to the Louisiana Association of United Ways will be dispersed among regional United Way organizations in communities affected by the floods to support long-term needs. Save the Children has deployed an emergency response team to Louisiana and is focused on meeting the critical needs of flood affected children and families and moving forward will be working to restore services essential to children's well-being.

Carnival is Louisiana's most popular cruise line and has operated from the Port of New Orleans since 1994. Carnival is the only line operating two year-round ships, Carnival Triumph and Carnival Dream, carrying 450,000 guests from the port annually. Since 2004 Carnival has embarked over 3 million guests from New Orleans.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.91 + 1.65%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 69.84 - 2.32%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.14 + 1.90%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 37.68 - 1.80%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What were the names of the three cruise ships that served as temporary housing for evacuees and workers recovering from hurricane Katrinain 2005?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Name the two 14,000 ton sister ships that entered service for Cunard in 1971 & 1972 and were replaced in 1976 & 1977.

Answer - The ships that entered Cunard's fleet in 1971 and 1972 were the Cunard Adventurer (Sunward II, Triton, Coral) and the Cunard Ambassador. They were replaced in 1976 and 1977 by the Cunard Countess and Cunard Princess.
courtesy of Patrick Race, Berkeley CA


Cruise News - August 15, 2016

Carnival Corporation and Port Everglades Extend Landmark Agreement to 2030
Carnival Corporation today signed an addendum to one of its most strategic passenger terminal agreements, extending the contract through 2030 with an additional five years of sailings to and from Fort Lauderdale-based Port Everglades, one of the world's top three cruise ports.

Carnival Corporation and Port Everglades Extend Landmark Agreement to 2030“The addendum builds on the landmark 15-year agreement reached in 2010 with the Broward County Board of County Commissioners and furthers Carnival Corporation's commitment to Port Everglades, which overall has more than 3.6 million multi-day cruise passengers a year. Overall, the agreement and business generated from Carnival Corporation's brands operating at Port Everglades produces a significant positive economic impact for the port and county.

As part of the addendum, Carnival Corporation will have preferential use of Cruise Terminal 4, which reopened last year after $24 million worth of renovations and upgrades designed for greater efficiency and guest convenience.

Additionally, the port is currently undertaking an estimated $13.6 million slip extension project on Terminal 4, expected to be complete by the middle of 2017, that will lengthen the slip to accommodate larger cruise ships.

As part of the long-term agreement, the company also has preferential use of three additional terminals, Cruise Terminals 2, 21 and 26, along with one additional terminal. This provides five terminals in total for Carnival Corporation to serve its guests who visit Fort Lauderdale as part of their cruise vacation.

"Carnival Corporation is a critical Port Everglades partner, and its many unique cruise line brands offer guests sailing into and out of our port with a wide variety of cruise experiences and itineraries," said Steve Cernak, chief executive and port director of Port Everglades. "Carnival Corporation has a strong, long-standing presence in the Broward County community, and the additional five years included in the agreement reinforces that commitment. We look forward to welcoming the newest member of Holland America Line's fleet, ms Koningsdam, to our sunny shores in November."

Furthering its dedication to the port, the company will add a second ship from its Carnival Cruise Line brand, Carnival Splendor, to sail from Port Everglades during the 2017 summer season. In addition to Carnival Cruise Line, six more of Carnival Corporation's 10 global cruise line brands currently carry nearly a million and a half passengers to and from Port Everglades each year. These brands include Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises and Seabourn. The seven Carnival Corporation brands and 28 different ships account for a combined average of more than 300 calls at the port each year.

"Florida is the largest cruise market in the world, and we are thrilled to extend our agreement with Port Everglades, which is an extremely convenient and popular location for our guests with close proximity to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the Caribbean, the world's most popular region for cruise vacations," said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. "We place great value on the long and successful relationship we have built with the port and Broward County, and we look forward to working together to meet our most important goal -- providing memorable vacation experiences for our guests for many years to come."

As part of the original agreement, the port undertook a $54 million cruise terminal renovation project to make significant improvements to four existing cruise terminals to accommodate ships from Carnival Corporation's fleet of global cruise line brands. Enhancements made as part of the project included features to enable simultaneous embarkation and debarkation processes, including two passenger loading bridges, separate and larger baggage halls and improved ground transportation areas. As part of the extension, Carnival Corporation and Port Everglades will engage in discussions to examine the opportunity for possible further improvements to Cruise Terminal 21 to accommodate Carnival Corporation's newest class of ships.

Celebrity Brings Back Quick, Modern Luxury Escapes to the Caribbean
Back by popular demand, Celebrity Cruises is reintroducing quick escapes to the Caribbean, giving time-crunched vacationers the opportunity to visit tropical ports-of-call in modern luxury style and experience the Celebrity Distinction.

Vacationers can choose from four and five night sailings from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., onboard Celebrity Summit"Our discerning guests have told us they want Celebrity's modern luxury vacations in the Caribbean and expressed an incredible level of excitement for the shorter itineraries we’ve offered in the past," explained Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "We listened and decided to reintroduce these coveted sailings where ease, convenience, relaxation and modern luxury coexist, while sailing to some of the most celebrated ports in the Caribbean onboard the beautiful Celebrity Summit."

Vacationers can choose from four and five night sailings from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., onboard Celebrity Summit to highly sought-after ports of call, including Key West, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas; and Cozumel, Mexico:

Four-Night Getaways:
The four-night sailings make for the perfect extended-weekend getaway. Guests will bask in the island breeze of Nassau, Bahamas, enjoy the modern luxury amenities Celebrity Summit has to offer during a day at sea, and unwind in the island paradise, Key West, Fla. – and still be back in time for work on Monday morning.

Five-Night Mini-Escapes:
The five-night sailings afford guests more opportunities to experience the distinct culinary delights and world-class offerings onboard Celebrity Summit, with two days at sea, before experiencing the rich heritage of Cozumel, Mexico, and the laid back vibe of Key West, Fla. Guests return home on Thursday with a three-day weekend still ahead of them.

Extended Caribbean Vacations:
For vacationers yearning for a slightly longer getaway, Celebrity Summit will also offer two seven-night repositioning sailings from San Juan to Ft. Lauderdale, and a return sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to San Juan, with stops in some of the most exotic sought-after ports of call, such as the sun-soaked islands of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten.

Celebrity's new mini escapes are available for booking now for travel beginning in early 2018 and during spring break and Easter.

Following the Ft. Lauderdale season, Celebrity Summit will return to its original homeport of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Celebrity Summit is captained by charismatic duo Alex Papadopoulos and Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain in the industry, who alternate every three months.

Princess Cruises Annual Relaxation Report Reveals Nearly Half of Americans are Trading Vacation Sun and Fun for More Sleep
From politics to work stress, Americans need today’s National Relaxation Day more than ever. According to Princess Cruises’ seventh annual Relaxation Report, Americans are using valuable vacation time for things unrelated to vacation such as catching up on sleep and running errands. When it comes to catching more shut-eye, a majority of working Americans (72%) take at least one day off a year just to sleep, and two out of five Americans (40%) take five or more days off per year (a full work week), just to catch up on sleep according to the recent survey by Wakefield Research for Princess Cruises.

Princess Cruises Annual Relaxation Report Reveals Nearly Half of Americans are Trading Vacation Sun and Fun for More SleepIf they are not using their vacation time to sleep, many Americans are trying to get things done. In fact, 68% of Americans admit they’ve used a vacation day for something other than vacation including family emergencies (37%), doctor’s or dentist’s appointments (36%), sick days for their children or loved ones (31%), home projects (23%) and running household errands (23%) – compared to 2015, when 54% said they had done so. Sadly, it’s no wonder Americans are so tired, vacation time has become hard work.

In observance of National Relaxation Day, it’s time for Americans to let go of the guilt and stress they feel when trying to relax, especially when on vacation. Forty-three percent of Americans admit they frequently feel guilty for relaxing, holding steady from 2015. Ninety-one percent of working Americans say they look forward to sleeping while on vacation, but it appears that the stresses of everyday life are getting in the way of a good night’s sleep on vacation. More than a third (35%) of working Americans, including half (50%) of Millennials, often feel more stressed when they’re on vacation because they can’t stop thinking about work. The lack of sleep is even getting in the way of leisure activities with nearly half of Americans, including 65% of Millennials, admitting they frequently skip events or activities on vacation because they’re simply too tired.

As one of the world’s leading cruise lines, Princess Cruises, is committed to ensuring its guests come back from vacation feeling refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated. As part of its Come Back New Promise, Princess Cruises partnered with leading experts in both the science and beauty of sleep to develop the new Princess Luxury Bed. Together with sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus and designer Candice Olson, Princess Cruises now delivers its guests the ultimate night of sleep at sea.

“Sleep and relaxation should be a guilt-free necessity every person should seek in their day.” said Dr. Michael Breus, board-certified sleep expert. “We all want to get the sleep we need while on vacation, but sometimes being in a new place and sleeping in an unfamiliar environment will disrupt a good night's sleep. This is why I’ve partnered with Princess Cruises to design a luxury mattress and sleep program that will deliver the most restful, rejuvenating sleep at sea.”

Stressed Coast to Coast
Stress levels are high on vacation in every region except one. Working Americans in the Northeast (43%), West (42%) and South (33%) are significantly more likely to feel more stressed on vacation because they can’t stop thinking about work than those in the Midwest (21%). It’s clear that Midwesterners have no problem relaxing. Most agree (67%) that they never or hardly ever feel guilty about relaxing, compared to an average of only 54% across other regions (Northeast, South and West).

Men vs. Women
When it comes to the differences between the sexes, working women are far more likely (48%) than men (39%) to feel guilty about taking the time to relax. However, among the Americans who take at least one day off per year to catch up on sleep, men take more days than women - 8 versus 7, on average.

Redefining Digital Detox
The role of technology and smartphones seems to have shifted from a source of stress to a source of relaxation over the last couple of years. In 2016, 53% of Americans feel their smartphone makes it easier, rather than harder, to relax, compared to 2014 where 52% felt it made it harder.

Political Pressures
This year has taken political stress to the next level from the U.S. presidential election to the U.K.’s historic Brexit. In fact, when it comes to Trump vs Hillary, more than half of Americans (54%) say Trump is more likely to keep them up at night, with Hillary a close second at 46%. However, Americans aren’t the only ones in need of a political pause, as 61% of those polled felt that the United Kingdom, rather than Rio de Janeiro (39%), was in most need of a National Relaxation Day this year.

Royal Caribbean Announces Longest-Ever Singapore Season
Asia’s largest cruise ships Ovation of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas will be back in Singapore from this October to next May to offer Royal Caribbean International’s longest-ever homeporting season here, which will run for eight months totaling 55 cruises and expected to bring an estimated 200,000 guests to ports in Southeast Asia.

Royal Caribbean Announces Longest-Ever Singapore SeasonThe deployment of these three ships will increase Royal Caribbean’s capacity in 2017 in Southeast Asia by 30 per cent over 2016.

To kick start the season is Mariner of the Seas from this October with 39 sailings until next March, ranging from three to seven nights to popular destinations such as Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My). The new itineraries for the season are the 3-night Penang Weekend Cruise which will feature night touring and the 4-night Phuket Cruise.

Other highlights of Mariner of the Seas are the festive cruises for Christmas and New Year in December and Chinese New Year in January 2017 which come with special entertainment, decorations and feasts onboard. Theme cruises are also being lined up such as the Salsa Cruise this December featuring renowned international salsa dancers and the second Cosfest Sea Cruise next February where guests can look forward to a cosplay themed parade, anime party and treasure hunt.

Asia’s largest and newest ship Ovation of the Seas which was in Singapore in June, will be back in March to April 2017 with a total of 10 new sailings, comprising three to five nights to Penang, Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and a 12-night one-way cruise to Tianjin with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) for an overnight, Hue/Danang (Chan May), Hong Kong and Seoul (Incheon). Ovation of the Seas alone is expected to add some 42,000 additional guests to the Singapore cruising scene, and delivering millions through in-port spend.

Following this will be Voyager of the Seas returning in May 2017 to offer six sailings of three to five night Southeast Asian itineraries to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang, Phuket and an 8- night one-way cruise to Hong Kong, with stopovers at Bangkok (Laem Chabang) for an overnight, Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Nha Trang.

Guests onboard the new 18-deck smartship Ovation of the Seas will enjoy the ‘North Star’, an observation capsule that rises over 90 metres over the ocean; ‘Two70’ – a S$18.5 m

Carnival Vista, Recognized for 'Green' Ship Environmental Design, Construction and Operation
Classification society Lloyd's Register has bestowed the "ECO Notation" designation on the new Carnival Vista, marking the first Carnival Cruise Line ship to achieve this distinction. The notation recognizes that the cruise line designed, built and operates Carnival Vista in a manner that exceeds current maritime statutory environmental regulations.

Carnival Vista, Recognized for Green Ship Environmental Design, Construction and OperationLloyd's Register (LR) established a set of voluntary standards that vessels can seek to achieve that exceed regulations established by the International Maritime Organization and other national and international regulatory agencies. Vessels seeking the ECO Notation must comply with a set of rules established by LR that govern ship design as well as pass LR's surveys and audits during the construction process and once the ship is in service.

"Achieving the ECO Notation clearly demonstrates Carnival Cruise Line's commitment to responsible environmental stewardship," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Carnival Vista was designed to operate at the highest standards set by the international maritime industry, and everyone involved in creating and operating this exceptional ship can take great pride in their achievement."

Carnival Vista was engineered to reduce emissions and meets all current regulations for nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide discharges as well as particulate emissions through the use of low-sulfur fuel, particulate filters and exhaust-cleaning systems. The ship also has the first Intelligent Power Management System installed on a Carnival vessel. The system optimizes diesel engine operational settings to reduce emissions and conserve fuel. In addition, Carnival Vista has a steam-turbine generator that recovers excess steam produced by the exhaust gas boilers while the ship is underway.

Other shipboard systems that contribute to Carnival Vista's reduced environmental impacts include an advanced wastewater treatment system and energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the vessel. The ship has a ballast water treatment system that complies with Ballast Water Management Convention requirements before they take effect.

Carnival Vista also is ahead of regulatory requirements that are part of the Hong Kong Convention for Safe Recycling of Ships which will render it safer and cleaner to recycle the vessel when it reaches the end of its service life many decades from now.

Lloyd's Register will periodically run surveys and audits of Carnival Vista's operations to ensure the ship continues to comply with its ECO Rules and maintains its environmental notation.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.15 - 0.71%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 71.50 - 3.35%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.10 - 3.25%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 38.37 - 10.68%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the two 14,000 ton sister ships that entered service for Cunard in 1971 & 1972 and were replaced in 1976 & 1977.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Some of the inside cabins P&O's s/s Canberra had an interesting feature that made them brighter than inside cabins on most other cruise ships. What was the feature?

Answer - The interesting feature that Canberra had that made some of the inside cabins were windows that looked out into a "court". These cabins, called "court cabins", were built in such a way that the they were staggered down the corridor and the wall of the innermost cabin jutted slightly passed that of the more outer cabin and had a window placed there - thus light from the outside would penetrate these inside cabins. They were usually 3 deep.
courtesy of Timothy Edgecombe


Cruise News - August 8, 2016

Crystal Cruises Drops Plans to Return SS United States To Service
Following an intensive, six-month evaluation, Crystal Cruises today determined that while the SS United States is structurally sound, the technical and commercial challenges associated with returning the historic liner to service as a modern cruise ship have unfortunately proven insurmountable. As a show of support for the vessel, Crystal Cruises will be making a significant donation of $350,000 to aid in the Conservancy’s ongoing mission to save the ship. The Conservancy intends to resume its pursuit of stationary redevelopment opportunities for America’s Flagship.

In February, Crystal and the SS United States Conservancy announced they had entered into an exclusive option agreement with the goal of converting the iconic 1950s-era vessel into a modern, luxury cruise ship that would comply with all modern safety and technical standards – unprecedented for a single vessel refurbishment. Crystal commenced a comprehensive feasibility study and professional evaluation, convening a world-class team of engineers and experts while incurring over $1 million in costs.

Crystal Cruises Drops Plans to Return SS United States To Service“Over the past six months, Crystal has conducted an extensive feasibility study to restore ‘America’s Flagship’ to oceangoing service. Unfortunately, the hurdles that would face us when trying to bring a 65-year-old vessel up to modern safety, design and international regulatory compliance have proven just too great to clear in both a technically and commercially responsible manner,” said Crystal President and CEO Edie Rodriguez.

“While it has been determined that Crystal’s exciting vision for the ship would have required overcoming various technical hurdles and major changes to her historic design, the studies performed have confirmed the ship is structurally sound,” said Susan Gibbs, Executive Director of the SS United States Conservancy. “America’s Flagship continues to hold enormous potential as a stationary mixed-use development and museum in New York or another urban waterfront setting. The SS United States Conservancy remains deeply committed to saving this unique and powerful symbol of the nation’s strength, history, and innovation.”

Led by retired U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Tim Sullivan, Crystal’s impressive team of maritime experts and engineers conducted numerous assessments on the ship in the Port of Philadelphia, where it has been docked for 20 years. The evaluation and testing included in-depth assessments of the ship’s structural condition; underwater inspections of the hull by divers; the examination of her fuel and salt water ballasting tanks; and a series of intensive engineering studies to deduce what would be needed to bring her back into service.

Regrettably, the technical feasibility study concluded that while the ship is remarkably intact and structurally sound, modifying the ship for today’s standards for oceangoing service (SOLAS) would require significant changes to the hull that would pose stability challenges. Additionally, the installation of a modern, state-of-the-art diesel electric propulsion plant would have necessitated altering of the existing shaft lines and rebuilding about 25 percent of the hull to reconfigure the ship to a twin shaft-twin rudder arrangement. While it was known that the vessel would need to have been essentially rebuilt from the inside out, these specific challenges, among others, collectively posed significant risk to the success of the project.

“Our company has great affection for this historic and irreplaceable vessel, and we will be making a $350,000 donation which will help support the Conservancy preserve the vessel through the remainder of the year,” said Rodriguez. “We firmly believe the SS United States is an American treasure and deserves to be preserved and redeveloped as a stationary destination for future generations to experience and enjoy.”

The Conservancy will immediately restart its aggressive outreach to qualified developers and investors to secure the ship’s future, while continuing its ongoing mission to educate the public about the legacy of the vessel and building its museum collection and archives. A national reunion of former crewmembers and passengers is planned in Philadelphia on September 17.

“The Conservancy is deeply grateful to Crystal Cruises for recognizing the SS United States’ historic importance and for working so hard on the ship’s behalf,” said Gibbs. “I would also like to thank our members and supporters from across the country and around the world for their continued support. Together we will continue to work tirelessly to save America’s Flagship and honor the legendary liner’s legacy.”

Crystal would like to thank partners and agencies involved in helping complete the feasibility study including: the U.S Coast Guard; Atlantic Logistics; the U.S Environmental Protection Agency; the American Bureau of Shipping; the U.S. Maritime Administration; the Seafarer’s International Union and multiple U.S. Congressional committees. Finally, Crystal urges the public to visit www.SSUSC.org to help the SS United States Conservancy continue its efforts to save America’s Flagship and advance its educational and curatorial programs to honor the nation’s only remaining ocean liner.

Norwegian Cruise Line Expands Partnership With Margaritaville
Cruisers should get their Fins Up, as Norwegian Cruise Line today announced the expansion of its exclusive partnership with Margaritaville. As a part of The Norwegian Edge™, a $400 million investment program dedicated to delivering an exceptional onboard experience, Norwegian will introduce new Margaritaville at Sea restaurants onboard Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway this fall.

Norwegian Cruise Line Expands Partnership With MargaritavilleBuilding on its success and popularity on board Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Escape, Margaritaville at Sea onboard Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway will bring to life nostalgic island moments with a tropical menu that features signature items like the Cheeseburger in Paradise and Who's to Blame Margarita, available à la carte, in an open air-eatery offering stunning ocean views.

“Norwegian Cruise Line has been bringing guests to paradise for nearly 50 years,” said Andy Stuart, President and Chief Operating Officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “With the expansion of our partnership with Margaritaville to our Breakaway Class ships, our guests will now be able to enjoy the island lifestyle before the ship has even left port.”

Margaritaville at Sea will open September 18 aboard Norwegian Getaway in the former Flamingo Grill, and on October 9 aboard Norwegian Breakaway in the former Uptown Grill.

“We are excited to expand our relationship with Norwegian Cruise Line, allowing even more guests to escape to the Margaritaville state of mind,” said John Cohlan, chief executive officer of Margaritaville. “Norwegian shares our philosophy that combines fun with exceptional service and we look forward to continuing to take this partnership to new sea levels.”

Norwegian Breakaway revolutionized the cruise industry when she debuted in 2013 bringing the best of New York City to sea with industry first innovations like The Waterfront, a full deck promenade of restaurants, bars and lounge space which enhances the guests’ connection with the ocean; high energy Broadway entertainment with Rock of Ages and Burn The Floor; a wide variety of accommodations offerings and much more. Norwegian Breakaway sails from New York year-round, during the winter months offering seven-day sailings to the Bahamas and Florida as well as Caribbean sailings up to 14-nights visiting some of the most sought after winter escapes, and seven-night sailings to Bermuda featuring three days in-port.

Norwegian Getaway, sister-ship for Norwegian Breakaway, sets sail from her home city of Miami and embodies the essence of the Magic City, the ship’s hull artwork was designed by Miami’s own David “LEBO” Le Batard and offers 26 dining options, two Broadway Shows, a thrilling Aqua Park with five heart-pounding slides, Splash Academy for kids and much more. Now through April 2017 Norwegian Getaway will sail seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries with alternating ports of call including Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize, the Caribbean’s new premier resort-style port of call that is being developed by Norwegian and due to open in November; and much more. In Summer 2017, Norwegian Getaway will return to Europe for the first time since her delivery in 2014, and sail the Baltic Capitals from Copenhagen, giving guests the opportunity to experience the ultimate in freedom and flexibility on eight- or nine-night cruises. This spectacular itinerary will allow guests to explore UNESCO World Heritage sites, take in the picturesque Baltic countryside and experience the unique history, cultures and architecture of these famed European cities. The itinerary includes calls in Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; along with an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Royal Caribbean Announces Holiday Adventures
Royal Caribbean International is inviting guests to start new holiday traditions at sea where the festive atmosphere will be aglow in the warm Caribbean waters, culminating in vivacious New Year’s Eve parties to ring in 2017 with families and friends. From ‘Snow Days on Deck’ that transform each ship’s social hub into sparkling, snowflake-filled holiday escapes, to Holly Jolly Holiday Parades and traditional tree lightings on every sailing, there will be holiday cheer around every turn throughout the month of December on all Caribbean-bound ships sailing from the U.S. eastern seaboard and Puerto Rico. In anticipation of the most wonderful time of the year, Royal Caribbean is spreading the holiday spirit in July with an exclusive “Deck the Holidays” promotion, offering guests up to $400 in onboard credit, 50 percent off a second guest and 50 percent reduced deposits on all December 2016 sailings that are booked on or before July 31, 2016.

Norwegian Cruise Line Expands Partnership With Margaritaville"Royal Caribbean will ‘deck the halls’ across 16 ships with carolers spreading cheer poolside, holiday wreaths and trees glowing throughout the ships, the beloved dishes and drinks that invoke the festive season in all of us, and even the opportunity to snap a picture with Santa and his elves when he makes his stops onboard,” said Mark Tamis, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “We are pulling out all the stops this holiday season, bringing together what people love most about this time of year – without any of the chores – to create the ultimate holiday celebration at sea and lasting memories of new traditions.”

Royal Caribbean ships will be transformed into wintry wonderlands, bustling with activities such as holiday movies poolside under the stars, cookie decorating, trivia competitions, traditional and pop-music caroling, Santa Parades, special presents for suite guests, and tree-and Menorah-lighting ceremonies on every sailing, to name a few of the happenings that await. On ships offering the DreamWorks experience, guests will be able to take holiday photos with their favorite characters from films such as Kung Fu Panda, Shrek and Madagascar, and enjoy special holiday-themed character breakfasts. For New Year’s Eve, guests can dress up and dance their way into 2017 with full-scale parties that take over the ships with live music, balloon drops, confetti, champagne toasts at midnight, and party favors galore.

Holiday sailings vary in length from three- to 12- night Caribbean itineraries. Offering three ways to experience a holiday on the world’s largest cruise ships to the most sought-after Caribbean island destinations, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas, and sister-ship Allure of the Seas will offer seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, while Oasis of the Seas will sail from her new homeport in Port Canaveral, sailing itineraries that range from five to 10 nights. In the Northeast, Anthem of the Seas will offer seven-night sailings from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ to the Bahamas and 10-night sailings to Eastern Caribbean islands including St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Labadee in Haiti.

Seabourn To Offer New Spa And Wellness Programs
Seabourn, in partnership with The Onboard Spa by Steiner, has created a fleet-wide mindful living program offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being. The new Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil program will be the first-ever of its kind at sea.

The new Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil program will be the first-ever of its kind at sea.The new program will be led by the newly established position, The Wellness Guide. The Guide, will be a certified yoga and meditation practitioner who will inspire and educate all guests through various complimentary classes and gatherings throughout the voyage. Guests who choose to participate in this new program will have a cruise experience that is further enhanced by a holistic mind and body perspective.

"This new wellness program will offer our guests an experience they simply won't find anywhere else in the industry," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "By partnering with Dr. Weil, a pioneer in integrative medicine, we will deliver an even greater degree of mind and body programs that ensure you can break away, relax and rejuvenate while you travel with us. We're eager to share the full slate of offerings as a part of Seabourn Encore's inaugural sailing as another component of the Extraordinary Worlds of Seabourn."

The program is scheduled to kick off with Dr. Weil sailing on Seabourn Encore's inaugural cruise in January 2017. The program will be rolled out throughout the entire Seabourn fleet in 2017, including Seabourn Ovation in spring of 2018. Dr. Weil will sail on a different Seabourn ship each year where he will deliver a 60-minute lecture for guests and will also offer smaller informal group discussions. A separate team of wellness experts will also make regular visits to spa facilities throughout the Seabourn fleet.

Central to the program is the daily practice of meditation and yoga through a selection of complimentary sessions. Guests can experience Mindful Meditation, which will introduce positive affirmations and mantras they can reflect on throughout the day. There will also be daily restorative yoga classes which will continue to focus upon the mantra and positive affirmations. Yoga classes will be varied, offering guests the ability to choose classes that focus on various physical issues, such as yoga to heal back and joint pain, headaches and body alignment, as well as yoga to enhance creativity, mental focus and happiness. Classes will focus on mind, body and spirit over a period of seven days, and will change daily with a new theme.

Integral to the wellness program are enriching complimentary Mind and Body seminars designed to educate guests on philosophies and practices that are aligned with the program's mission. Each presentation will aim to empower guests with ideas and practices that enhance well-being and increase the awareness of connection between mind, body, environment and wellness. Seminars are created by Dr. Weil and Steiner's Wellness professionals, many of which will be based upon Dr. Weil's teachings, and will explore the fields of the healing arts.

On board seminars include:

• Spontaneous Happiness & Spontaneous Healing: adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil's best-selling books.
• Anti-inflammatory foods: adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil's nutritional guidance.
• Healthy Aging: adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil's research in this area.
• Introduction to Mindful Meditation: learn what happens to the body and mind during meditation.

Individualized one-on-one wellness sessions on select topics will also be available for a fee.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.48 - 0.49%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 73.98 + 2.95%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.17 - 3.98%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 42.96 + 1.18%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Some of the inside cabins P&O's s/s Canberra had an interesting feature that made them brighter than inside cabins on most other cruise ships. What was the feature?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cruise ship was severely damaged and almost sank after striking ice in June of 1989?

Answer - The ship involved would have been the Maxim Gorkiy near Spitzbergen.
courtesy of John Cruz


Cruise News - August 1, 2016

Carnival's New 133,500-ton Ship To Be Named Carnival Horizon
Carnival Cruise Line announced today that Carnival Horizon will be the name of its new 133,500-ton ship scheduled to be delivered in March 2018.

SkyRide is a dual-track, bicycle feature that combines exercise and thrills that debuted on Carnival Vista and will be on board Carnival Horizon as well when it debuts in 2018Currently under construction at Fincantieri's shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Horizon will be the line's second Vista-class ship, with the namesake vessel in the series, Carnival Vista, having entered service in May 2016.

Carnival Horizon will offer many of the hugely popular indoor and outdoor dining, bar, entertainment and activity options available on Carnival Vista including SkyRide, the IMAX Theatre, WaterWorks aqua park, Seuss at Sea program in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Alchemy Bar. There will also be a number of new innovations unique to this vessel.

In addition, Carnival Horizon will offer a wide range of accommodation categories, including the popular Havana staterooms and extra-roomy Family Harbor cabins. Homeport and itinerary details for Carnival Horizon will be announced at a later date.

With Carnival Horizon's name and layout designed to inspire guests to discover extraordinary views, new perspectives and amazing experiences, Carnival is hosting a fun social media contest on Instagram that will award a stateroom for up to four people when the ship debuts in 2018. To enter, post your favorite photo of a horizon and tag @Carnival and use the hashtag #CarnivalHorizonSweepstakes to enter to win the cruise giveaway. The contest will begin July 29, and run through July 31, at 11:59 p.m.

"The name Carnival Horizon not only reflects the ship's unique connection with the sea with so many spectacular indoor and outdoor spaces but also the boundless array of options that guests of all ages are sure to enjoy," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "And in keeping with our reputation for bringing fun and enjoyment to our guests and fans, we've come up with an engaging social media contest encouraging the sharing of your favorite Horizon photos," she added.

Royal Caribbean Reports Over 25% Growth In Second Quarter Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported GAAP and adjusted earnings of $1.06 and $1.09, respectively, up over 25% from last year and better than expectations. Full year adjusted earnings are also expected to be up 25% in the range of $6.00 to $6.10, down $0.20 from the midpoint of earlier guidance due to a negative impact of approximately $0.27 related to currency and fuel.

Royal Caribbean Reports Over 25% Growth In Second Quarter EarningsYields and costs for the year are also performing generally as expected. The sale of 51% of the Pullmantur Group announced in May was completed at the end of July. Consequently, Pullmantur's results will no longer be consolidated in Royal Caribbean's accounts. Since Pullmantur's yields and costs are lower than the fleet average, this change has the effect of increasing Royal Caribbean's yields and costs metrics for 2016.

"Our business remains strong and we continue to improve our return profile," said Richard Fain, chief executive officer. "This keeps us solidly on our path towards the Double-Double."

SECOND QUARTER RESULTS

US GAAP Net Income for the second quarter 2016 was $229.9 million or $1.06 per share, compared to $185.0 million or $0.84 per share in 2015. Adjusted Net Income for the second quarter of 2016 was $235.2 million, or $1.09 per share, up over 25% versus the same quarter last year. The outperformance for the quarter was primarily driven by better than anticipated fuel expense.

Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis increased 1.1%, in-line with guidance. The portfolio of global destinations performed as expected. Constant-Currency NCC excluding fuel increased 1.9%, also in-line with previous guidance.

Bunker pricing net of hedging for the second quarter was $511 per metric ton and consumption was 346,000 metric tons.

FULL YEAR 2016

Royal Caribbean updated full year Adjusted EPS guidance to a range of $6.00 to $6.10. This is a $0.20 decrease at the midpoint versus previous guidance due to a $0.27 negative impact from currency and fuel rates, of which approximately $0.14 is related to weakness in the British Pound following the Brexit vote. Lower than expected fuel expense in the second quarter partially offset the full year impact of weaker foreign currencies and rise in fuel prices.

As previously announced, Royal Caribbean sold 51% of its stake in Pullmantur and formed a Joint Venture with Springwater Capital. This sale results in the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group. Consistent with our other joint ventures, results from this venture will now be accounted for under equity method accounting. An immaterial gain related to the sale has been excluded from Royal Caribbean's earnings guidance.

Royal Caribbean's booked position for the remainder of 2016 remains strong, similar to last year's record levels. Looking further ahead, Royal Caribbean's booked position for the next twelve months is also strong, up on both rate and volume, versus same time last year. Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis are expected to increase in the range of 4.0% to 4.5%, driven primarily by the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group. Continued strength for North American products are helping offset weakness in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Shanghai.

NCC excluding fuel are expected to be up approximately 1.0% for the year. This includes a slight increase in this cost metric driven by the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group offset by a slight decrease in costs from the rest of the fleet.

"While there are always puts and takes in our key markets, our portfolio is performing as expected, our booked position remains strong, and our newbuilds are entering their markets to great fanfare," said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer. "These factors are driving another year of record earnings."

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean expects 2016 Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $6.00 to $6.10 per share.

THIRD QUARTER 2016

Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up approximately 2.0% in the third quarter of 2016. The year-over-year improvement is primarily driven by the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group.

NCC excluding fuel are expected to be down approximately 1.5% on a Constant-Currency basis. This includes a small increase relating to deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates and currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean expects third quarter Adjusted EPS to be approximately $3.10 per share.

Carnival Announces Carnival LIVE's 2017 Lineup
Carnival Cruise Line has announced its initial 2017 Carnival LIVE lineup featuring country music stars Tim McGraw and Little Big Town along with comedians Jay Leno and Jeff Foxworthy who will perform on seven different ships departing from five convenient U.S. homeports.

Carnival Cruise Line has announced its initial 2017 Carnival LIVE lineup featuring country music stars Tim McGraw and Little Big Town along with comedians Jay Leno and Jeff FoxworthyCarnival LIVE is a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience that brings the best in live music and comedy to the seas, providing guests an opportunity to enjoy captivating performances by top artists in a unique and memorable setting where there's never a bad seat in the house. Performances are held in the ships' main show lounges which range in capacity from 900 to 1,300 – giving shows a more intimate and personal feel.

Three-time Grammy Award winner Tim McGraw will bring his signature brand of country music to two Carnival ships with show-stopping performances aboard Carnival Breeze March 2, and Carnival Valor March 3, while the ships are docked in Nassau, The Bahamas. In addition to 21 number one singles, 11 of McGraw's albums have debuted at number one on the Billboard country album chart.

Platinum recording artist Little Big Town will have audiences singing along and dancing in the aisles with shows in Nassau aboard Carnival Dream May 11, and Carnival Valor May 12. The recipients of nine Country Music Association awards, the chart-topping band has earned a loyal following for their unique mix of harmonies and incredible musical talents.

One of the most successful comedians in the country, Jeff Foxworthy is the largest selling comedy recording artist in history, a multiple Grammy Award nominee and author of 11 books. Famous for his "you might be a redneck if…" jokes, his comedy explores everyday family interactions and human nature. Foxworthy will perform two shows – one aboard Carnival Freedom June 21, and another aboard Carnival Ecstasy June 22, while the ships are docked in Nassau.

A member of the Television Hall of Fame and a longtime host of NBC's Tonight Show, Jay Leno will entertain guests with his observational humor with a pair of hilarious performances in Cozumel aboard the Carnival Victory May 3, and Carnival's newest ship the Carnival Vista May 4. Leno plays upwards of 200 shows a year and currently hosts "Jay Leno's Garage" on the CNBC network.

Carnival LIVE tickets for Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, Jeff Foxworthy and Jay Leno range in price from $30 to $80 for general admission, significantly less than land-based venues. VIP tickets are available for $100 to $300 and include seating in the first five rows, a photo opportunity with the artist and a commemorative concert pass.

“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” Takes the Stage Aboard Disney Cruise Line
For the “first time in forever,” the beloved animated hit “Frozen” is getting the Disney Cruise Line theatrical treatment as a new stage show exclusively aboard the Disney Wonder. “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” debuts, along with a wave of new enhancements to the ship, on cruises starting Nov. 10, 2016, from Galveston, Texas.

Frozen, A Musical Spectacular Takes the Stage Aboard Disney Cruise LineThe story will be presented like never before, with an innovative combination of traditional theatrical techniques, modern technology and classic Disney whimsy, completely unique to the Disney Wonder production.

“We’re so excited to bring ‘Frozen, A Musical Spectacular’ to the stage of the Walt Disney Theatre on the Disney Wonder. The production is going to delight each one of our guests because it’s a story for absolutely everyone in the family,” said Jim Urry, Vice President, Entertainment, Disney Cruise Line.

“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” will follow the captivating adventure of royal sisters Anna and Elsa as they embark on a journey to discover the meaning of sisterhood, inner strength and true love. Fans of the film and newcomers alike will be enchanted by favorite characters brought to life onstage along with beautiful renditions of the movie’s iconic music.

The show features dynamic costumes and sets, remarkable special effects, and spectacular production numbers that will delight Disney Cruise Line guests in new and surprising ways. The creative disciplines blend to create a seamless environment – blurring the lines between costume and scenic, set piece and video, puppet and puppeteer – and expand upon the most imaginative elements of the film.

“The story of ‘Frozen’ is one of the most iconic animated movies ever, so this is a unique and special opportunity to retell the story onboard the Disney Wonder, transporting guests right into the world of Arendelle,” said Kevin Eld, Creative Portfolio Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering.

To adapt this blockbuster animated feature into a quintessential stage production, Eld assembled a team of distinguished creative talent with Broadway credits and theatrical accolades.

The production is led by Tony Award-nominated director Sheryl Kaller (“Next Fall,” “Mothers and Sons”). Joining the creative team are Tony Award-winning costume designer Paloma Young (“Peter and the Starcatcher”), choreographer Josh Prince (“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”), scenic designer Jason Sherwood (“Paint Your Wagon”), and writer Sara Wordsworth (“In Transit”).

“Frozen, a Musical Spectacular” will feature music direction by Marco Paguia, projection design by Aaron Rhyne and lighting design by Rui Rita.

Dynamic puppetry by Michael Curry, whose designs are featured in Disney’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “The Lion King,” will bring exciting physicality to characters like Sven and Olaf.

The production features the popular music and lyrics by the creators of the “Frozen” film score, Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“In Transit,” “Up Here”) and Robert Lopez (“Avenue Q,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Up Here”), and is adapted from the screenplay by four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (“Gotta Dance,” “Aladdin,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Elf”).

The 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre provides the perfect setting to immerse audiences in the kingdom of Arendelle and showcase the renowned score. Songs like “For the First Time in Forever” and “Love is an Open Door” will be expanded into ensemble pieces, and the film’s wintry wizardry will be realized in lavish production numbers of “In Summer” and “Fixer Upper.”

A stand-out moment, the emblematic ballad “Let it Go” will be transformed into a full-fledged stage spectacle. Complete with real-life magic – transformative scenery, snow flurries and state-of-the-art video technology – this show stopping number will bring Elsa’s enchanted icy blasts to reality like never before.

“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” is based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios “Frozen,” which is the number one animated feature of all time. The acclaimed film earned two Academy Awards (2014) for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.

An entirely separate two-act Broadway production of “Frozen” is currently being prepared by Disney Theatrical Productions and is slated to join Disney Theatrical’s New York productions of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” for spring 2018 at a theater to be announced. It will have a pre-Broadway engagement starting in summer 2017 in Denver.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.71 + 0.86%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 71.86 - 1.62%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.26 - 3.42%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 42.46 + 1.85%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cruise ship was severely damaged and almost sank after striking ice in June of 1989?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - The ship would be the SANTA PAULA which was built in 1958 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. for the Grace Line of NY. She ended her days as a hotel in Kuwait City eventually being destroyed there by the retreating Iraqis after during the Gulf War.

Her sister was the SANTA ROSA which went on to become the EMERALD owned by Louis Cruises but operated by Thompson Holidays.
courtesy of M. Dunatov


Cruise News - July 25, 2016

Norwegian Joy To Feature Custom Artwork By Chinese Artist Tan Ping
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has commissioned renowned Chinese artist Tan Ping to design the artwork to be featured on the hull of its soon to-be-unveiled Breakaway-Plus class vessel Norwegian Joy. Scheduled for release in Summer 2017, with home porting in Shanghai and Beijing, Norwegian Joy will be Norwegian Cruise Line's first ship that is purpose-built for the Chinese market to deliver on the promise that guests will enjoy 'First Class at Sea' experiences, starting with her VIP accommodations. Tan Ping's distinctive artwork will serve to underscore Norwegian Cruise Line's commitment to providing an unparalleled cruise experience for Chinese consumers.

Norwegian Cruise Line commissions Renowned Chinese Artist Tan Ping to Paint the Hull of its New Breakaway-Plus Class Vessel for China, Norwegian JoyA painter, printmaker, and educator, Tan Ping straddles the worlds of both art and design. His abstract paintings and copper plate etchings are in the collections of such renowned museums as The National Art Museum of China; Portland Art Museum, USA; Ludwig Museum, Germany; and The Shanghai Art Museum. Tan Ping also enjoys the distinction of having led and directed a team of designers from Central Academy of Fine Arts to complete the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Image and Landscape Design Project.

Norwegian Cruise Line commissions Renowned Chinese Artist Tan Ping to Paint the Hull of its New Breakaway-Plus Class Vessel for China, Norwegian Joy His subject for Norwegian Joy is the phoenix, an iconic mythical bird believed to reign supreme over all birds of the world. It is a ubiquitous motif in Chinese art and can be found throughout the centuries in paintings, silk brocades, architectural flourishes, and more.

"The Phoenix symbolizes beauty and good luck in Chinese culture, and Norwegian Joy will bridge across the West and the East and bring Chinese people's best wish to the world and everyone in her path," said Tan Ping.

Tan's modernistic design is simple, yet graceful, as flowing lines simultaneously convey forward movement and majestic poise. The artwork's color palette is dominated by red and yellow, traditionally the two most regal colors in China. Red signifies joy, a perfect match for a ship of the very same name. Yellow represents grandeur, the feeling that a ship of this size evokes in those who see it. The design also includes hints of blue, signifying the sea. These three colors are also primary colors, the starting point for all other colors in the spectrum of visible light. Through this subtle reference, Tan conveys the sense of an auspicious beginning to an unforgettable voyage.

"We are incredibly honored to be partnering with Professor Tan Ping," says David Herrera, President, Norwegian Cruise Line China. "Tan Ping's ability to design concepts that easily blend traditional Chinese culture with moving and changing aspects of life is inspiring. He has perfectly captured the feel of Norwegian Joy as a luxurious, technologically advanced ship while honoring traditional Chinese values. The hull art embodies the essence of the best of The East meshing perfectly with the best of The West."

Norwegian Joy will see the vision of the Phoenix artwork transferred to a medium of enormous scale on the hull of this unique ship. "This design is by far my largest artwork," says Tan. "Traveling worldwide on Norwegian Joy, I also expect that it will reach a far greater number of viewers than any of my previous works."

Tan Ping's stunning hull artwork promises to be the finishing touch on one of the most ambitious vessels in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. Norwegian Joy will accommodate 3,850 guests with luxurious suites in the exclusive ship-within-a-ship complex, The Haven by Norwegian, along with a brand new Concierge category of staterooms, plus a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies, to meet every guests' needs. Dining options will feature the finest of both Chinese and Continental cuisine. When it comes to at-sea entertainment, guests aboard Norwegian Joy will be spoiled for choice with state-of-the-art Virtual Reality gaming at The Galaxy Pavilion, the world's first two-level competitive racetrack at sea, an open-space park, two multi-story waterslides and plentiful options for duty-free shopping.

Seabourn Launches New Excursions To The South Pole
Seabourn is launching new pre-cruise experiences taking guests to the South Pole on select Antarctica & Patagonia itineraries during the 2016-2017 season. Guests bound for the Great White Continent aboard Seabourn Quest can extend their adventure with two new travel packages that also travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including: Polar Quest & Patagonia and Polar Quest, Tierra del Fuego & Iguazu Falls.

Seabourn Launches New Excursions To The South Pole"Seabourn has made its reputation for offering guests astonishing experiences in places that are beyond the ordinary, and there are few travel opportunities less-expected or out-of-the-ordinary than a visit to the South Pole," said Robin West, Senior Manager, Expedition Planning and Operations for Seabourn. "These experiences will be the icing on the cake for guests bound for Antarctica aboard Seabourn Quest over the season ahead."

Both of the pre-cruise packages include stays at Union Glacier Camp in the southern Ellsworth Mountains, one of a few private seasonally occupied camps in Antarctica. Operated by renowned land-based tour operator Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE), the full-service camp offers spacious, double-occupancy sleeping tents; freshly prepared gourmet cuisine; and a spectacular setting for activities from scenic excursions to technical climbs and ski tours.

There are many memories waiting to be made and much for guests to enjoy on the new pre-cruise experiences on Seabourn Quest in Antarctica & Patagonia this season, including:

• Polar Quest & Patagonia (14 nights/15 days) – In addition to a transantarctic flight and landing at the South Pole, this overland journey takes guests on an exploration of breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site Torres del Paine National Park that encompasses 450,000 acres of forests, rivers, lakes and virgin pampas in southernmost Chile. Choose from a variety of included excursions providing daily opportunities to explore the various environments, including vivid blue ice pools, raw glacial moraines and abundant wildlife from guanacos to Andean condors. Package rates start at $50,999 per person based on double occupancy; pre-cruise departure December 4, 2016 followed by Seabourn Quest sailing December 19, 2016.

• Polar Quest, Tierra del Fuego & Iguazu Falls (16 nights/17 days) – In addition to a transantarctic flight and landing at the South Pole, guests will join a select company of intrepid explorers en-route to one of the world's most remote and unspoiled destinations: the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site of Iguazu Falls National Park on the border of Brazil and Argentina. From Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina, guests will witness an immense complex of waterfalls. Explore the falls and its surroundings from extensive walkways or take options such as inflatable boats or helicopter tours. Package rates start at $53,999 per person based on double occupancy; pre-cruise departure December 26, 2016 followed by Seabourn Quest sailing January 12, 2017.

Carnival Elation Welcomes JAXPORT’S 2 Millionth Passenger
North Carolina resident and first-time cruiser Carina Alejandro became the two millionth passenger to sail from the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal when she arrived for her four-day cruise aboard the Carnival Elation yesterday.

Carnival Elation Welcomes JAXPORT’S 2 Millionth PassengerOfficials from JAXPORT and Carnival Elation Captain Gaetano Gigliotti were on hand to present Alejandro with a number of gifts, including a commemorative plaque.

During her Carnival Elation cruise to the Bahamas, Alejandro, her young son and fiancé are receiving VIP treatment with a number of on-board courtesies. The cruise is also serving as a special occasion as her boss is getting married on board.

Carnival Cruise Line launched the first year-round cruise program from Jacksonville in 2004 and continues to be the only cruise operator sailing year-round from the port.

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation offers four-day cruises to Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas and five-day voyages to Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay. Carnival Elation carries 170,000 passengers annually from Jacksonville.

Celebrity Cruises Introduces Year-Round Caribbean Itineraries
Endless modern luxury vacations are back in the Caribbean. Celebrity Cruises has today introduced year-round Caribbean sailings onboard the award-winning Celebrity Equinox to some of the most breathtaking places in the region. And, as the only premium cruise brand to offer these one-of-a-kind vacations, Celebrity is further elevating each sailing by introducing new unique experiences and enriching activities that all ages can enjoy. This is the Celebrity Distinction.

Celebrity Cruises Introduces Year-Round Caribbean Itineraries "Our guests, first-time cruisers and our travel partners have been asking me for many years to offer year-round Caribbean cruises. They wished we offered these itineraries," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "Modern luxury, affluent vacationers have been looking for summer cruises in the Caribbean and we felt this was a significant opportunity in our offering. So our new year-long sailings are perfect for discerning families and couples who want a summer getaway to sought-after tropical islands, with the best culinary experiences in the region and enriching activities for children and adults – all of which can only be offered by Celebrity. We are also adding new itineraries and sailings to create the most unforgettable vacations in the Caribbean; this is another example of what makes Celebrity so distinct and unique."

Lutoff-Perlo, added: "The response we have received so far to our year-round Caribbean sailings has been overwhelming, and we are excited to offer our guests endless summers in such a beautiful place."

Celebrity Equinox Summer Takeover:

Celebrity Cruises is taking over the Caribbean, offering 24 sailings alternating between the Western and Eastern Caribbean on Celebrity Equinox and seven exceptional itineraries in 2017 – all from Miami. As a prelude to summer, Celebrity Cruises is offering a special 11-night Signature Event sailing in the Caribbean that includes a double-overnight stay in New Orleans, La., coinciding with the city’s famous jazz festival. In addition, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, will be hosting a special President’s Cruise in the Caribbean, departing on August 27, 2017, for an 8-night Eastern Caribbean sailing. Lutoff-Perlo will be hosting special events and excursions to take the vacation to the next level of indulgence.

"The Cruise Capital of the World is proud to welcome the Celebrity Equinox," said Miami-Dade County Mayor, Carlos A. Gimenez. "Passengers will experience a true getaway cruising from PortMiami as they sail past the colorful skyline of downtown Miami and surrounding beaches - a vacation experience like no other port in the world."

The Most Distinctive Summer Camp at Sea, for Children and Adults:

In addition to offering new sailings onboard the Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Cruises is introducing the most unique "Summer Camp at Sea,” allowing children to enjoy a vacation that moves beyond purely entertainment, to also deliver enriching and inspiring activities. From offering an “Adventure through Science” program to becoming a director for the day and creating a short video onboard, children ages 3-17 have a range of one-of-a-kind educational activities at their fingertips.

Taste of the Caribbean

Adults can partake in the excitement too with Celebrity Cruises' newest culinary program. Celebrity is bringing a taste of the Caribbean to modern luxury travelers with its new Taste of the Caribbean program, which offers complimentary events for adults at sea. Events include a culinary demo with Celebrity featured chefs, mixology demos, the biggest wine tasting at sea, rum and reggae party on The Lawn Club and brunch and bubbles. Exclusive events are also available for a fee, including a fresh pasta and mozzarella making class and lunch in Tuscan Grille and an exclusive five-course tasting dinner with Celebrity chefs.

Adults looking to be fully immersed in the culinary indulgences can enjoy the Taste of the Caribbean Premium Package. This luxurious package gives guests a taste of all of the culinary, wine and cocktail indulgences available on the Celebrity Equinox. From the Chef Market Discovery excursion to a “Blendtique" wine blending class to a Riedel Wine comparison workshop, guests' taste buds will be pampered throughout their sailing.

Carnival Cruise Line To Create New Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea
Carnival Cruise Line and Build-A-Bear Workshop have entered into an exclusive partnership that will bring the unique retail-entertainment experience to the line's fleet.

The first Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea is being rolled out aboard Carnival Dream and is expected to be fleetwide aboard all 25 Carnival ships by summer 2017.

Building upon Carnival's position as the family cruise leader hosting 700,000 kids a year, Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea provides children of all ages an opportunity to make their own cuddly bear that can be customized with a variety of outfits and accessories, from tutus and high-top sneakers to, appropriately enough, vacation wear like bathing suits and sunglasses.

A St. Jude Bear with proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children's Research HospitalEach bear comes complete with its own "birth certificate" with the bear's name and date he or she was created, as well as a logoed drawstring bag. Additionally, the bears have their own "voice" via a recordable sound chip with kids recording their own special message.

And the fun doesn't stop at just making bears -- kids can create monkeys, leopards, turtles and other furry friends, as well as a St. Jude Bear with proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, one of Carnival's primary charitable partners.

"Build-A-Bear Workshop is a popular part of American culture and we're delighted to provide our guests with an opportunity to make their own custom-designed bear and create a lifetime of memories," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We are equally grateful to partner with Build-A-Bear Workshop to help raise money for the special kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," she added.

"Build-A-Bear Workshop stores have always been a destination for families, and our partnership with Carnival Cruise Line will offer passengers the chance to take part in the fun of making new furry friends while onboard," said Sharon John, president and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop. "The arrival of the new Build-A-Bear Workshop experience on Carnival Cruise Line ships is an exciting example of how we're bringing our nearly 20-year-old brand into more places than ever before."

Participants can make their custom-designed bears at pop-up Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea workstations located within the Camp Ocean facilities or join the ships' cruise directors with festive Build-A-Bear At Sea parties held each cruise and featuring music, bear-themed snacks and photo opportunities. The pop-up workstations are set up at designated times throughout the cruise and include everything to make a cute, huggable bear with racks filled with various outfits and accessories as well as an iconic stuffer that allows participants to add soft stuffing to make their bear as plush and cuddly as they want.

Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea complements the wide variety of family-friendly activities available aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships which also include complimentary children's programs for kids 2-17, spectacular water parks with corkscrew water slides and splash zones, miniature golf courses, video arcades, poolside DiveIn Movies on giant LED screens, outdoor play spaces, volleyball and basketball courts and more.

Prices for the bears start at $20 with outfits and accessories starting at $5.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.31 + 1.51%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 73.04 + 2.82%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.34 + 1.30%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 41.69 + 1.29%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Cabins have traditionally been referred to as staterooms. From where does the term "stateroom" originate?

Answer - Originally, the term "stateroom" referred to the better-quality lodging available aboard riverboats plying the rivers of the early United States; these rooms were named after various states of the Union.
courtesy of Martina Flynn


Cruise News - July 18, 2016

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Officially Welcomes Seven Seas Explorer to Fleet
Godmother of Seven Seas Explorer, Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco, cut a red velvet ribbon which sent a Primat bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne smashing against the ship's hull to officially christen the newest member of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet. The gala christening ceremony took place in Monte Carlo, one of the world's most glamorous cities, and included a special private concert by world-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises President and COO Jason Montague, H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco celebrate the christening of the fleet's newest ship, Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco delivered the traditional maritime blessing before the bottle of champagne broke against the ship's hull, officially christening the vessel. The jubilation of the bottle breaking moment was followed by a spectacular 40-minute private performance from musical maestro Andrea Bocelli, capping an incredible evening for a ship that sets new benchmarks for luxury.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises President and COO Jason Montague, H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco, Captain Stanislas Gerard Jean Mercier De Lacombe and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and CEO Frank Del Rio celebrate the christening of the fleet's newest ship, Seven Seas Explorer in Monte Carlo. Photo credit: Mark Ashman.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises introduces Seven Seas Explorer to its fleet with this bottle-breaking christening moment. Photo credit: Preston Mack. "This is truly a special moment, not only for the Regent Seven Seas Cruises brand, but for the entire Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings family," shared Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and chief executive officer. "Tonight we celebrate the realization of our vision. Seven Seas Explorer is not only the world's most luxurious ship - she sets a new benchmark for luxury vacations and lays the foundation from which Regent Seven Seas Cruises will continue to build. We have already begun a massive $125 million refurbishment effort to ensure every ship in our fleet matches the luxury standard found on Explorer, and will introduce a sister-ship in 2020."

During his christening remarks, Del Rio reflected upon the humanitarian efforts undertaken by Her Serene Highness as part of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. The Foundation's mission is to save lives by teaching children and adults basic water safety techniques.

"It is an honor to be the Godmother of this magnificent ship, Seven Seas Explorer. I am also thrilled by the discussions taking place between my Foundation and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to implement my Water Safety program on all their ships. Developing awareness of the risks attached to aquatic environments is, for me, a cause of most importance," stated Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene.

Seven Seas Explorer delivers an unrivaled luxury cruise experience. The ship features extravagantly designed theaters and lounges, an unparalleled collection of opulent and spacious suites, five lavish gourmet restaurants and an unprecedented level of personalized service. At 55,254 gross-registered tons and carrying only 750 guests, the all-suite, all-balcony ship boasts one of the highest space ratios and lowest crew to guest ratios in the cruise industry, not to mention the largest private verandas in the cruise industry and a new category of luxury suite, the nearly 4,500-square foot Regent Suite. The luxury liner's maiden voyage will take place July 20, 2016, and will spend its inaugural season in Europe before heading to Miami for a series of Caribbean voyages.

Carnival Corporation Opens Arison Maritime Center for World-Class Safety Training
Carnival Corporation & plc today announced the official opening of the Arison Maritime Center, its world-class facility dedicated to providing rigorous safety training for its bridge and engineering officers responsible for the navigation and operation of the world's largest fleet of cruise ships.

Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman Micky Arison, along with his wife Madeleine, officially opened the company's Arison Maritime CenterThe new 75-million-euro facility in Almere, Netherlands, just outside Amsterdam, was celebrated with a ceremony honoring longtime board chairman Micky Arison and his father Ted, founder of the company, that was attended by the company's global leaders, board members and government, community and business officials.

The centerpiece of the seven-acre campus is a new and more than two-times-larger Center for Simulator Maritime Training Academy (CSMART), Carnival Corporation's world-renown maritime training, professional development and research facility that began operations in Almere in 2009. The center will feature bridge and engine room simulators that utilize the most innovative technology and training solutions in the maritime industry, modeled closely after the technology and practices used in the airline and other industries.

"The opening of the new Arison Maritime Center and expansion of our CSMART Academy is a major milestone in our company's history and an exciting day for all of us at Carnival Corporation," said David Christie, senior vice president of maritime quality assurance for Carnival Corporation. "The safety and comfort of our guests and crew is our most important priority, and the Arison Maritime Center underscores the depth of our commitment to making sure our ships sail as safely as possible. Our bridge and engineering officers are the heart and soul of our ship operations, and this center takes to a new level our dedication to providing our officers with the maritime industry's most comprehensive and progressive safety training."

Added Christie: "With 10 cruise line brands sailing 11 million guests a year to over 700 ports around the world, we take tremendous pride in having a team of highly trained, skilled and prepared officers operating the bridges and engine rooms on our ships. With the new Arison Maritime Center and CSMART Academy officially up and running, our tradition of excellence and continuous improvement in safety training is stronger than ever."

At 110,000 square feet, the environmentally friendly facility is more than double the size of the company's current facility, allowing Carnival Corporation to provide annual training to over 6,500 officers and engineers across the company's 10 cruise line brands. It will also include an advanced medical center and an 11-story, 176-room hotel for Carnival Corporation trainees.

The CSMART Academy will feature four full-mission bridge simulators and four full-mission engine room simulators designed to provide a wide array of programming and simulated exercises that can recreate an extensive range of maritime scenarios. The new five-story facility will also include 24 part-task engine simulators, eight debriefing rooms and eight part-task bridge simulators -- all designed to provide participants access to the visual elements of 60 ports around the world including Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Singapore and Glacier Bay, Alaska.

The state-of-the-art technology provides high-quality maritime training services that reflect real-world scenarios and sea conditions including ship traffic, aircraft interference, weather events and wildlife circumvention. Modeled after the newly designed bridge of the Koningsdam from the company's Holland America Line, CSMART Academy's full-mission bridge simulators provide an authentic shipboard experience for participants to build skills in navigating complex control and automation systems.

Like the bridge simulators, the full-mission engine room simulators are based on actual ship layouts and systems, scaled to size and representing a diesel electric engine room comprising six diesel generators and two propulsion motors, along with ancillary and auxiliary equipment. The simulators allow trainees to navigate their way around the actual engine room of a ship to operate and repair equipment, with the genuine sights, sounds and even temperatures found in a cruise ship's engine room.

The new facility and team of highly experienced CSMART Academy instructors have developed a curriculum that sets the industry standard for safety and maritime training and keeps pace with advances in ship technology, fostering critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making and confidence.

The CSMART Academy has played a leading role in developing and refining a function- and team-based bridge and engine room management system on a large scale. This approach is based on roles rather than ranks, with officers operating as a coordinated team, with each officer assigned a role for specific functions. It also includes encouraging team members of all ranks and seniority to speak up to challenge or question a decision.

In keeping with the faculty team's leadership, the Arison Maritime Center will provide the additional space needed to implement the industry's first Proficiency Training and Assessment (PTA) program. The week-long course is based on a specially developed curriculum that annually refreshes and then evaluates each of the corporation's maritime officers.

With its scale, technology and equipment, and innovative training approach, the new facility will be the most progressive maritime center of its kind in the world for training and continually improving industry-wide safety and excellence.

Cunard Creates New Cocktails Inspired by Their Knighted Commodores
Cunard's iconic cocktail bar the Commodore Club has revealed a new and distinguished menu sharing the unique story of the Knighted Cunard Commodores. Each historic and decorated story is infused into the cocktail experience with a modern menu design, illustration and superb new signature cocktails. These new and fresh additions to the renowned bar, found in prime locations on each of the Cunard Queens, highlight the incredible craftsmanship that has gone into each drink. Cunard's talented onshore and on board bar teams have carefully mixed ingredients reflective of the personalities of these celebrated men.

Cunard Creates New Cocktails Inspired by Their Knighted CommodoresExpertly mixing ingredients to create cocktails such as 'Punch Romain à la Carpathia', believed to be the last libation served aboard Titanic. The intriguing cocktail inspired by Commodore Sir Arthur Rostron who led the safe rescue of all survivors of Titanic features Advocaat as the signature ingredient.

The recent $132 million remastering of the Queen Mary 2, provided Cunard with an opportunity to add contemporary enhancements to the bar interior, and with a number of new food and beverage concepts being launched across the entire fleet. One of the first to be available on every Cunard Queen is the transformed flagship cocktail menu for the popular Commodore Club.

Steering the fleet forward through their unfaltering precision and expertise, Cunard Commodores have led the fleet across the sea for almost two centuries. Alongside the number of knighted Commodores, Cunard is also honoured to claim more knighthoods, seven, among its Captains than any other cruise line.

Cunard worked with illustrator Lauren Crowe to bring to life these seven rejoiced men, beautifully creating intricate pencil illustrations of each of the knighted Commodores, inspired by their steep history and stories. The remarkable new depictions of these respected individuals are presented within a bold contemporary menu design that takes inspiration from Cunard's rich maritime past. Together with the illustrations, part of the new designs include a set of distinct and striking monograms specifically crafted to represent each individual Commodore, subtly referencing an aspect of the Commodore's story.

"Cunard has continued to receive recognition as a leader in world exploration within its more than 176-year history," said Richard Meadows, President, Cunard North America. "We are proud to recognize seven of the most decorated Cunard Commodores in Queen Mary 2's iconic Commodore Club, who have led the Cunard fleets and flagships throughout the company's illustrious past. Inspired by character and history, each cocktail has been thoughtfully created to honor their remarkable stories."

Guests of the Commodore Club on board Queen Mary 2 can enjoy one of seven newly designed cocktails, including 'Over the Top, inspired by Commodore Sir James Charles (1865-1928). Known for doing things on a grand scale, this Commodore's dinner parties aboard Aquitania were well renowned as opulently social affairs, and this aromatic and refreshing sharing cocktail is extravagantly presented, just the way Sir James would come to expect.

MSC Cruises Further Enriches Kids Entertainment Across Fleet
MSC Cruises today announced exciting additions to its already rich family cruises offerings that includes the introduction of an innovative kids sports program, DOREBRO; a kids-dedicated interactive cooking class designed with Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco; and a new, exclusive MSC Cruises ship toy developed by LEGO.

MSC Cruises Introduces new innovative sports program and a new interactive cooking class for kids designed by Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco on board MSC Divina - sailing year round from Miami to the Caribbean."As a family-owned company, from day one we have understood and focused on the importance of offering families and their kids on-board our ships a vacation that has all the elements that can make it a truly unforgettable one for the entire family, in addition to being stress-free," said Gianni Onorato, Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises. "For this reason, kids-dedicated activities and other family related services have always been at the very core of our guest offering and are strengthened on an ongoing basis by further additions – thus making this element of our offering one of the richest at sea."

Across its entire fleet – which is the most modern at sea – MSC Cruises provides a very extensive offering for family vacations, including: Dedicated clubs segmented by age group as well as daily entertainment for all ages;

• Family dining options;
• Modern and fun-filled on-board facilities such as aqua parks and pools, bowling alleys and 4D cinemas; and
• Dedicated shore activities designed with the needs of the entire family in mind.

New this summer is the DOREBRO sports program, an on-board entertainment innovation designed especially for kids who love sports. Children and teens aged from 3 to 17 years old can join the program, which is now available on most MSC Cruises ships sailing in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. The program offers an exciting variety of sports and active games for all levels, broken down in two daily sessions, with activities designed for the different age groups. The program has been designed in collaboration with King's Active, the UK-based company expert in designing engaging and fun youth activities to inspire sports stars of the future.

Alongside this addition, starting this summer season, MSC Cruises has also introduced "DOREMI Chef by Carlo Cracco," a cooking class designed in collaboration with the two-starred Michelin chef Carlo Cracco. Led by MSC Cruises chefs and the on-board MSC Cruises mascot DOREMI, children aged 3 to 11 will learn, amongst other recipes, how to make homemade pasta from scratch while receiving plenty of cooking hints and tips from the globally renowned chef. Upon completion of the course, each child will receive an official mini-chef certificate signed by Carlo Cracco himself.

Finally, MSC Cruises offers its guests a wide range of on-board entertainment especially for kids, developed in collaboration with the LEGO Group, the world's leading toy producer. As part of this ongoing relationship, LEGO Group has recently launched a very special LEGO MSC Cruises toy of MSC Meraviglia – the company's new next-generation smart cruise ship that launches in June 2017 and will sail the Mediterranean for its inaugural season. This toy LEGO model – which is available for sale fleet wide at the on-board MSC Cruises Logo shop – will make the perfect souvenir for children who can then relive their MSC Cruises family vacation at home in a fun and creative way. To watch a fun video of the new LEGO toy model visit: https://youtu.be/u8qpf5grIsw

Consumers interested in winning their own MSC Meraviglia LEGO ship – typically only available on board the MSC fleet – can enter now by visiting: http://www.mscpromotions.com/lego.html.

MSC Cruises also offers a range of services for babies and young children including the Mini-Club for children under 3 as well as a dedicated childcare service giving parents the freedom to enjoy the ship, safe in the knowledge that their children are being cared for by dedicated and highly trained staff. Many of these services are offered in collaboration with Chicco – the leading global baby brand and yet another exclusive MSC Cruises partnership.

Fathom's Dominican Republic STEM Voyage Underscores its Commitment to Student Education Around the World
Fathom, the pioneer in social impact travel and Carnival Corporation's (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) 10th and newest brand, is finalizing preparations for its July 17 Dominican Republic voyage representing the first ever cruise to the Caribbean focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programming. The 7-day cruise will feature specialized STEM-focused workshops for educators that Fathom developed in close collaboration with the Center for Science Teaching and Learning (CSTL). Fathom also will play host to the fifth annual Clean Tech Competition, a unique research and design challenge for pre-college youth. Additionally, advertising students from the Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma's (OU) student-run advertising and public relations agency Lindsey + Asp will join the sailing as part of their partnership with Fathom to promote this first-ever STEM-focused cruise to the Caribbean.

Fathom's Dominican Republic STEM Voyage Underscores its Commitment to Student Education Around the World"Since our founding, Fathom has considered experiential education a central element of the experience we are bringing to travelers and communities," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. "By hosting the first-ever STEM cruise to the Caribbean, we are demonstrating our commitment to education in a creative and innovative way by engaging as partners, educators and students who are actively working to advance our collective understanding and application of STEM while at the same time working to further build young leaders."

Russell has a personal reason for wanting to create this community. "Both Tyson (10) and Lucy (8) love complicated math. I want to do all I can to encourage their continuing passion. We need to make math and science and business cool and exciting for kids -– so they embrace their interests and don't feel like outsiders for studying what they love."

According to Russell, Fathom's partnership with the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College student-run advertising and public relations agency is yet another way the company is furthering its commitment to education. "The students created an incredible project during their capstone class on behalf of Fathom, which led to an ongoing partnership between Fathom and Lindsey + Asp. Through this partnership, they have applied their classroom learning to a 'real-world' marketing opportunity – to build awareness and drive sales for Fathom," she said. "With this cruise, we have created a 'living lab' for them to put their skills to work as they promote Fathom while seeing for themselves the truly unique impact experience we provide enhanced this week by the STEM theme."

For educator programming, Fathom worked alongside Ray Ann Havasy, Ph.D., director of the CSTL, to design progressive and engaging professional development workshops to help educators continue promoting student learning of critical STEM concepts. Fathom workshops will provide specialized training and information on STEM-related teaching resources, collaborative STEM program support, and technical career development opportunities. The featured onboard programing will emphasize the following areas:

• Project based learning
• Hands-on science activity ideas and demonstrations
• Dinosaurs
• Weather
• STEM questioning techniques
• Earth science
• Endangered species

As host of the Clean Tech Competition, Fathom will welcome onboard talented 15- to 18-year old students from around the world to showcase their creative solutions to "Make an Impact" by offsetting humans' negative effects on the planet. The competition is designed to foster a deeper understanding of STEM-related concepts, recognize outstanding talent, and prepare the next generation of globally competitive innovators. The winning team will receive an award of $10,000, as well as the opportunity to develop an ongoing relationship with a professor who will serve as a long-time mentor and assist them in furthering their work and education.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 45.62 - 0.02%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 71.04 + 2.13%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.31 - 1.28%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 41.16 - 4.63%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Cabins have traditionally been referred to as staterooms. From where does the term "stateroom" originate?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
The Los Angeles Maritime Museum features a 22-foot model of this famous, albeit fictional ship?

Answer - It's the model of the SS POSEIDON, used in the 1972 movie, "The Poseidon Adventure". It cost $30,000.00 to build and it weighs 800 lbs.
courtesy of Deborah D'Ambrosi


Cruise News - July 11, 2016

New President Takes the Helm at Windstar Cruises
John Delaney is now the president of Windstar Cruises. The seasoned cruise veteran will chart a course for the boutique, small ship cruise line that prides itself on a casual yet elegant approach to smaller harbors, in-port overnights and personalized experiences around the world. His first day in office will be on July 19.

John Delaney takes the helm at Windstar Cruises.Delaney, formerly SVP of Global Marketing and Sales for Seabourn Cruise Line (a Carnival Corporation), also has significant tenure with The Walt Disney Company and Holland America Line.

"We are very pleased to welcome John on-board. Cruise vacationers and our guests have every reason to expect a new era of exciting, wonderful and memorable vacation experiences on our yachts and in the ports Windstar visits," said Andrew N. Todd, chief executive officer of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, parent company of Windstar Cruises. "Windstar just welcomed back the renovated Star Pride, and since taking ownership of Windstar in 2011, we have invested more than $40 million into our three sailing yachts and three motorized all-suite yachts, so this is an ideal time for John to join the company and contribute to its success."

From 2011 through June of this year, John was the senior vice president of global marketing and sales for Seabourn Cruise Line. Prior to that he also held a number of positions at Holland America, including vice president of revenue marketing, director of special projects at corporate audit services and manager of management advisory services.

Before working for Carnival Corporation, he spent six years at The Walt Disney Company starting as a financial analyst in food operations at The Disneyland Resort and working his way up and through various departments including senior business planner for theme park operations revenue and manager of marketing finance. After a brief stint with Gateway Business, he returned to The Walt Disney Company at Disneyland Resort culminating as director, financial planning and analysis.

John earned his BS in Business Administration and Accounting from California State University in Long Beach, California, and resides in Seattle.

First Steel Cut for Holland America Line’s ms Nieuw Statendam
Holland America Line celebrated a significant construction milestone today as the first steel was cut for ms Nieuw Statendam, due for delivery in November 2018. The ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, and the block being built there will later be moved to the Marghera yard where the ship will be constructed. Holland America Group’s Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations Keith Taylor was at the yard for the event.

First Steel Cut for Holland America Line’s ms Nieuw StatendamThe 99,500-ton ship — the 15th in the fleet — is the second Pinnacle Class vessel for Holland America Line, joining sister-ship ms Koningsdam that sailed its first cruise in April 2016. The steel cutting follows a period of design and development for the 2,650-guest ship that will feature enhanced Pinnacle Class amenities and innovations.

“This is an exciting time for Holland America Line, and Nieuw Statendam’s steel cutting is a milestone that signifies our continued growth and evolution as a company and a brand,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “With Pinnacle Class we have been able to try new things, expand our horizons and push boundaries, and while Nieuw Statendam is a sister to Koningsdam, we do have some new ideas that will be revealed in time.”

This is the 16th ship built for Holland America Line by Italian shipyard Fincantieri, which most recently constructed Koningsdam.

Princess Cruises Honors Love Boat Captain Gavin MacLeod for 30 Years Serving as Global Ambassador
Princess Cruises celebrated Gavin MacLeod today, the beloved award-winning actor who played Captain Merrill Stubing on the iconic “Love Boat” TV show, for his 30 years serving as the cruise line’s global ambassador. The City of Santa Clarita, Calif., home of the world headquarters of Princess Cruises, honored MacLeod by proclaiming July 6 “Gavin MacLeod Princess Cruises Ambassador Day” during a special ceremony hosted by Captain Stubing’s TV daughter Jill Whelan, aka “Vicki Stubing,” which was attended by hundreds of Princess employees and fans.

Princess Cruises Honors Love Boat Captain Gavin MacLeod for 30 Years Serving as Global AmbassadorMacLeod has now served as the cruise line’s celebrity ambassador for three decades, exclusively promoting the premium cruise line to millions of consumers through thousands of media interviews, public appearances, travel industry conferences and on board the Princess Cruises fleet, proudly sharing the joys of cruising.

Princess Cruises president, Jan Swartz, also made an exclusive announcement at the event. MacLeod will continue his ambassador duties for the line with an upcoming role as celebrity judge on the ship’s newest onboard entertainment offering, “The Voice of the Ocean.” The show is based on the excitement and spectacle of TV’s wildly popular international singing competition and is brought to life throughout the cruise with auditions, mentor rehearsal sessions, the iconic “I Want You” chairs, three charismatic team coaches and ultimately a live finale performance where guests choose the winner.

“We are so proud to honor Gavin MacLeod as our beloved global ambassador and treasure the impact he’s had on not only Princess Cruises but the entire industry over the last 30 years,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “In this role, Gavin has truly touched millions of people, sharing and listening to cherished cruise memories. If you’ve been lucky enough to swap stories with Gavin, shake his hand or take a photo, you’ve been lucky enough to experience his pure passion for cruising and love of life.”

From 1977-1986, MacLeod won the hearts of millions of viewers playing everyone’s favorite cruise ship captain on “The Love Boat,” as Princess Cruises served as the backdrop for what became one of the highest-rated primetime television shows in history. The show has been widely credited with introducing millions of viewers to contemporary cruise vacations sparking a dramatic expansion of the industry.

“I am deeply humbled by this occasion marking my 30th year serving as global ambassador for Princess Cruises,” said MacLeod. “Promoting Princess has truly been one of the highlights of my life. People still come up to me and tell me that ‘The Love Boat’ gave them something to dream about and now all these years later, cruising is a reality for millions and the growth of the industry just proves that dreams really do come true.”

With a successful career spanning more than 60 years, MacLeod is a celebrated television, film and theater actor widely known for his leading role as Merrill Stubing on “The Love Boat” and Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Recently he published a best-selling autobiography, “This is Your Captain Speaking,” starred in a two-man play “Happy Hour” in his hometown Palm Springs, Calif., and received a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Makes U.S. Debut After Extensive Remastering
Cunard's flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 sailed into its U.S. homeport, Brooklyn, on July 6 after a significant refit costing in the region of $132 million. The luxury liner has been lovingly remastered with new contemporary interior designs and guest experiences, many of which take their design inspiration from the original Queen Mary, which debuted in New York 80 years ago. The Queen Mary 2 holds a unique place in the cruise landscape, continuing the legacy of the great ocean liners and transatlantic travel.

Ella Bean, a Yorkie mix, enjoys the remastered kennels on the Queen Mary 2, the only passenger liner to carry petsA number of VIPs were in attendance at the U.S. Remastering launch which included a day of celebration and fanfare. Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, commented on the occasion, "More than any other ship in our Carnival Corporation fleet of more than one hundred ships, Queen Mary 2 is the most famous, the most recognizable and certainly the most unique. It was the dream of our Chairman Micky Arison to build the Queen Mary 2 almost 15 years ago. He aspired to recreate that luxurious ocean liner experience from the past and Queen Mary 2 is the glorious result."

The refit was conducted in the Blohm + Voss Shipyard, in Hamburg, one of the only shipyards in the world large enough to hold Queen Mary 2. It was a 24-hour a day operation, with over one million man hours put into the refurbishment, during a 25-day period.

The Remastering Features: • The addition of 30 further Britannia Club staterooms, 15 Britannia single staterooms and five Britannia inside staterooms
• Redesign of key public spaces and restaurants, including the transformation of the former Winter Garden into the Carinthia Lounge, the introduction of The Verandah as the ship's new specialty restaurant, and the complete refresh and restructuring of the Kings Court, the ship's popular buffet area
• 12 additional kennels and other enhancements
• And as befitting the flagship of the Cunard fleet, a complete repaint of the ship exterior and significant technical enhancements and structural changes Expanded Kennels:

As the only passenger vessel to carry dogs and cats, Queen Mary 2 has expanded its kennel service during this multi-million dollar renovation. Pet travel has soared in the United States over recent years and due to increased demand, Cunard has added 12 new kennels for a total of 24. In addition, the ship extended the kennel area, adding an owner's lounge, new pet playground, and a larger outdoor area with an historic English lamppost and American fire hydrant so canines from both sides of the pond will feel at home. The artwork in the lounge was specifically created by Karen Katon-Oprey, daughter of Captain Kevin Oprey, Master of Queen Mary 2. A full-time Kennel Master takes care of daily pet responsibilities including feeding, walking and cuddling the pets onboard.

Cunard's pet-friendly policy dates back 176 years to the maiden voyage of the Britannia in 1840 when the ship sailed with a cow to provide fresh milk for passengers. Famous canines such as Rin-Tin-Tin, Elizabeth Taylor's pampered pups and the Duke of Windsor's dogs traveled on Cunard and to continue that tradition, NYC's top Instagram dogs, @ChloeTheMiniFrenchie, @WallytheWelshCori, and @EllaBeanTheDog, joined Cunard on board the ship to cut the ribbon on the new kennels.

"The remastering of Queen Mary 2 continues the transatlantic tradition by the thoughtful contemporizing of the product for today's discerning traveler, while maintaining the refined design aesthetics and service standards that are deeply based in British style and refinement. The Remastering is a testament to Cunard's attention to detail, incorporating inspiration from our past that continues to propel the powerful Cunard story, which we think will strongly resonate with today's travelers," said David Noyes, CEO, Cunard.

The essence of Queen Mary 2 lies in allowing guests to lose themselves in a world of glamour, timeless sophistication and luxury. The legendary liner experience is revered for its exceptional crew – in its 176-year history Cunard has seen seven of its Commodores knighted, an honor no other shipping company can claim. On board Queen Mary 2 today the level of expertise and tradition is not forgotten, with highly trained and attentive staff, all graduates from the ship's White Star Service Academy. From skilled personal butlers and concierge teams of the Cunard Grills to the teams of sommeliers and waiting staff across the breadth of dining venues – all are ready to cater for the needs of every guest.

Cruise Industry Trend: Women in Leadership Roles - Including Captains of Ships and Brands
When she left her home in the remote Faroe Islands and took a temporary job as a stewardess on a cargo ship, Inger Klein Thorhauge wanted most to become a wife and mother. But life at sea held such an attraction that she worked her way up through the ranks to become a cruise ship captain for Cunard.

Thorhauge is part of a sea of change at the top of the cruise industry, as women are smashing through the glass ceiling, bringing a new energy and new ways of thinking. I

n days of yore, women actually were considered bad luck in the maritime world. Today, Carnival Corporation has women in key leadership positions at all levels of the company that serves nearly 11 million cruise passengers annually. Women head three of the company's 10 brands – Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Fathom – and a woman runs Carnival Australia, representing the seven brands that operate in the region.

Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge, who helms Cunard ships, is among women with prominent roles at Carnival Corporation."The opportunities for women in the industry are the same as they are for men," said Thorhauge, who has been a Cunard captain since 2010, starting on the Queen Victoria. "As long as you work hard and are dedicated, anyone can achieve anything."

Next time you go on a cruise ship, there may be a woman at the helm. People often are surprised when they meet her, said British Captain Sarah Breton, who was named the first female captain for P&O Cruises in 2010. Currently, she captains Fathom's 704-passenger Adonia. "Particularly the women passengers often comment on how proud they are to have a female captain," Breton said.

Other maritime women are also getting noticed, and applauded. A young Italian woman, Francesca Dandriccio, a 3rd engineer, recently was recognized as Carnival Cruise Line's Leader of the Year. She's the first person from the engine department to ever receive the honor. In nominating her, Dandriccio's male bosses noted both her "brilliant technical abilities" and her ease in interacting with crew and passengers.

"We are so proud of her," said Christine Duffy, who herself broke barriers becoming the first-ever female president of Carnival Cruise Line, the flagship brand for Carnival Corporation. "There haven't been a lot of women in these roles and today you look at Carnival Corporation and there are."

Duffy said women bring a new dimension to the leadership table. "As women we do tend to have a different way of engaging. Studies have shown we tend to be more empathetic, more in touch with the human side," Duffy said.

Women have risen through the ranks in other positions within Carnival Corporation, including in the traditionally male role of heading hotel operations. Canadian Terri Cybuliak, hotel general manager on Princess Cruises' Golden Princess, said "tenacity and resilience" were two traits she had to master in order to be promoted to the job. Being competitive also helped. "I was constantly looking for new challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to prove my abilities," Cybuliak said.

Among her mentors were two women hotel general managers and her father. "My father also had a big influence in the commitment and dedication that drives me," Cybuliak said. "He had a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility, which has continued to strengthen my character as I have developed my career."

Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises since 2013, said increasing the role of women in leadership in the cruise industry makes particular sense when you consider that women typically drive travel purchases. "Women are into travel as an experience that creates family memories," Swartz said. "Most women want to create these experiences for their families, friends and loved ones and take great pride in planning trips – and more and more that includes cruises."

Being part of a company where women lead brands and also serve around the world in leadership roles is "fun, exciting and encouraging," said Tara Russell, president of the Fathom brand, which is pioneering the concept of social impact on a large scale.

"I think there's only more opportunity ahead as I look across the family of brands and the growth and vision of where we are headed corporately," said Russell, who also heads global impact efforts for Carnival Corporation. "It's one of Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald's beliefs that when you bring different perspectives to the table, you ultimately get a better outcome. I think we're seeing that every day."

The women heading the four brands have a sisterhood of sorts, Russell added.

Ann Sherry, executive chairman of Carnival Australia since 2007, and one of Australia's most influential businesswomen, has taken on the role of mentor. "I think it is incredibly helpful especially at the senior level to have a touch point for any questions that come up," Sherry said.

"Women in leadership juggle many of the same things. Many of us have children, many of us have the same conflict factors any man does in addition to some others," said Russell, who has turned to Sherry for advice. "I think it's been great and refreshing to have other women brand leaders to relate to and who empathize."

Among other women executives at Carnival Corporation are Julia Brown who heads global procurement, and Marie McKenzie, who leads global destination services and sourcing.

A woman's touch applies at Carnival Corporation even in the male-dominated shipbuilding realm. Alison Clixby, director of hotel design and projects for Carnival UK, which includes P&O Cruises UK and Cunard, has worked on shipbuilding for 25 years – most recently overseeing the "remastering" of Cunard's flagship Queen Mary 2.

She said she lucked into the job out of design school and quickly was hooked. "I think it's about opportunity," she said. "I was really lucky. I didn't know about it when I got my first job. But being in a building environment, a very sort of rough and ready dirty environment and creating is fascinating. I am now trying to mentor people to give them that opportunity."

Carnival Cruise Line's Duffy said such mentoring is important as more women seek additional career opportunities within the cruise industry. "It's about recognizing and developing talent and I see women as well as men very willing to do that for women," Duffy said. "Remember, a lot of guys have daughters and wives."

Mobile Guest Engagement Solution Sets Sail on Royal Caribbean's Exclusive Royal Suite Class
Benbria has set sail with Royal Caribbean, offering its Loop mobile guest engagement solution as a means for guests in the Star Class to connect with their dedicated Royal Genie while on land or at sea. This exclusive service made its maiden journey on Ovation of the Seas on April 15, 2016, and is now available in Star Class staterooms on five of the cruise line's signature vessels.

Loop made its maiden voyage on Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas in April of this yearWhen a Royal Suite Class guest reservation is confirmed, they are introduced to the Royal Genie service prior to boarding. The Royal Genie is a highly experienced specialist dedicated to ensuring guests ultimate cruise experience. With Loop, guests can communicate directly with their dedicated Royal Genie using their personal mobile device. Before departure, they can request special arrangements, reservations and amenities to enhance their cruise vacation. They can even inform their Royal Genie when they are arriving to the port so they can be greeted and whisked through an expedited registration process to start their holiday.

The unique guest experience continues once the ship sets sail. Star Class guests can use Loop to send instant messages and communicate directly with their Royal Genie throughout their voyage to ask questions, make dinner reservations, or inquire about things to see and do while in port. Whether on the ship or on land, guests can use their personal mobile device to ask their Royal Genie to make wishes come true, and Royal Caribbean is eager to make them a reality.

"The Royal Genie service is designed to make the guest's voyage the most memorable experience possible," commented Claudia King-McWilliams, Director of Guest Services, Housekeeping and Private Destinations at Royal Caribbean International. "With Loop, we are taking the experience to a whole new level. No matter where they are on the journey, Star Class Guests are never further away than a few simple clicks away from their Royal Genie."

While the technology behind Loop helps make the connection between the guest and the Royal Genie easier, it is the service model of the program that is making waves across the industry. The Royal Genie doesn't just tend to the guest's suite; they make the entire ship the guest's suite, crafting personalized VIP experiences tailored to their exact tastes. From planning the perfect date night to having their favorite wine waiting after a day of adventures ashore, Royal Caribbean's Royal Genie makes sure that guests have everything they want while on holiday.

"This is a great example of how Loop helps leverage technology to create that ever important emotional connection between the guest and the brand," commented Andrea Baptiste, CEO at Benbria. "It is growing increasingly challenging to establish personal connections with guests who want to have access to things quickly and anonymously using their mobile device. Royal Caribbean's innovative Royal Genie program is an exciting way to engage and delight passengers, and Benbria is excited to be a part of it. Our Loop solution is helping them use technology not just as a tool for information, but also a gateway to surprise and grant wishes for their guests."

Loop made its maiden voyage on Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas in April of this year. Since then, the technology has been expanded to include Star Class Suites on Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, and the newly launched Harmony of the Seas — the world's largest cruise ship.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 45.63 + 1.72%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 69.56 + 0.65%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.34 + 1.74%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 43.16 + 5.11%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
The Los Angeles Maritime Museum features a 22-foot model of this famous, albeit fictional ship?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Only two four-stack ships were built for service on a route other than the North Atlantic. Name either of these ships and the route they were built for?

Answer - The ships were called Windsor Castle and Arundal Castle and were built for the Union Castle mail run from Southampton to Cape Town. The were re-engined in the late 30s to increase their speed to meet a new mail contract and had a graceful clipper bow fitted. Windsor Castle was lost in World War II but Arundal Castle continued in service until about 1960.
courtesy of Peter Stafford


Cruise News - July 4, 2016

Fire Onboard Black Watch Forces Cruise Cancellation
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines announced that there was a fire on board its cruise ship, Black Watch, early in the morning on July 1st 2016, in the Auxiliary Engine Room. The cruise line said that the fire was extinguished by the crew and that there were no injuries to guests or crew. Black Watch had departed from Dover on Saturday 25th June 2016, on a 13-night Portuguese Island & Cities’ cruise. There were 696 guests and 365 crew on board, the majority of whom were British nationals.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines announced that there was a fire on board its cruise ship, Black Watch, the morning of Friday, July 1st 2016The fire damaged three of the ship’s auxiliary engines, out of a total of seven, which generate electrical power on board. Some electrical power was restored to the ship shortly after the fire and the four main engines were reportedly undamaged by the fire.

Black Watch arrived in Funchal, Madeira on Saturday afternoon and the company announced that all Black Watch guests had been flown from Funchal back to the UK, into London Stansted and London Gatwick airports, on three private charter aircraft on Monday.

Following a more thorough damage assessment upon the ship's arrival in Funchal, the cruise line announced that that the Black Watch's next cruise, which was a nine-night Norwegian Fjords cruise sailing from Tilbury on Friday 8th July 2016, had been cancelled.

In recognition of the inconvenience caused, Fred. Olsen said it would offer the following compensation:
• 100% refund of the whole of the cruise fare, to arrive with guests shortly after their return home. Fred. Olsen will also be refunding guests any reasonable out of pocket expenses connected with the curtailment of their holidays
• In addition, Fred. Olsen will also offer guests a future cruise voucher of up to 50% of the fare paid for this cruise, to be used within Fred. Olsen’s current cruise program

MSC Seaview to Spend Her Inaugural Season Cruising the Mediterranean
MSC Cruises announced today that the second of its Seaside-generation smart cruise ships, set to come into service in June 2018, will be named MSC Seaview. She will spend her inaugural season cruising the Western Mediterranean, with three major ports of embarkation in history- and culture-rich Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.

MSC Seaview to Spend Her Inaugural Season Cruising the Mediterranean"Our Company's heritage lies in the Mediterranean and it was only natural that MSC Seaview — our third next-generation smart ship which comes into service in June 2018 — would be deployed in its historic and culture-rich waters," said Gianni Onorato, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises. "Guests can now plan their vacation and experience everything that this ever popular region has to offer from on board one of the industry's most innovatively-designed ships at sea." vMSC Cruises' Seaside-generation ships are being built by Italy-based FINCANTIERI, one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world. These new ships combine FINCANTIERI's shipbuilding tradition, expertise, Italian flair and excellence in design with the industry-leading innovation and global vision of MSC Cruises.

"We are proud of our partnership with FINCANTIERI in realizing our vision for this innovatively-designed, new generation of smart ships at sea," said Onorato.

Known as the "ship that follows the sun," the design of the Seaside-generation cruise ships embodies MSC Cruises' passion for the sea and features the highest ratio of outdoor space per guest at sea. Inspired by a pioneering beach condo concept, MSC Seaview will bring guests and the sea closer, with special design elements that allow guests to make the most of the warmer weather. For example, guests will be able to enjoy their time on board eating, drinking and relaxing outdoors in the Mediterranean sunshine with some of the best sea views in the world. They will also benefit from an increased number of balcony staterooms, sea views and public areas, with every element carefully planned to allow guests to make the most of the sea and the sunshine.

A unique design feature of MSC Seaview is the impressive 360° promenade with glass balustrades that runs around the entire ship. This stunning public space will act as a lively recreation area where guests can stroll in the open air, eat and drink al fresco from a variety of bars and restaurants or shop in the boutiques, all while enjoying the spectacular sea views.

An MSC Cruises vacation is the perfect way to discover different cultures, beauties and tastes. MSC Seaview guests will be able to experience the wonders of the Mediterranean in true MSC Cruises style, visiting sought after Mediterranean destinations including, Genoa, Marseille, Barcelona, Naples, Messina in Sicily, and Malta. In addition, a wide range of shore activities have been carefully designed to help guest discover each destination and its unique culture.

MSC Seaview is one of MSC Cruises' new next- generation smart cruise ships, employing the latest and the best technology available at sea to enable guests to customize their onboard and onshore experience so that they each enjoy a uniquely personalized cruise experience. In partnership with technology leader Samsung, the next-generation technology will include everything from the latest displays and mobile solutions to products for enhanced reality consumer retail experiences. This will include, among others:

• Near Field Communication (NFC), using a cruise card, bracelet or smartphone for a range of different options including geo-location of children, stateroom access and onboard payment.
• Interactive screens to make it simple to select excursions as well as book shows and restaurants.
• iBeacon technology that is customized to each guests' specific preferences so that they will never miss their favorite experiences and will be able to communicate with mobile devices and receive push notifications about relevant information and offers.

As with all MSC Cruises vacations, guests can expect a cruise on board MSC Seaview to be distinguished by modern and comfortable accommodations, always fresh and authentic food, award-winning entertainment, and plenty of relaxation. In addition, MSC Seaview guests will enjoy a full program of activities specially designed for families and their children across all age groups, impeccable service, and some of the best, most varied shore excursions programs in the industry.

Holland America Line Wins 'Seafarer of the Year' Award from Lloyd's List
At the 2016 Lloyd's List North American Maritime Awards, the captain and crew of Holland America Line's ms Veendam were named "Seafarer of the Year" for the rescue of a pilot who ejected from his aircraft in the Pacific Ocean. Holland America Line received the award at a ceremony in New York in May.

The plane had a parachute system and the pilot was able to safely escape into a life-raft where he was retrieved by Veendam.The "Seafarer of the Year" award recognizes the skills, bravery and professionalism that seafarers demonstrate daily. On Jan. 25, 2015, Veendam rescued a pilot 225 miles off the coast of Maui, Hawaii, who had to ditch his single-engine aircraft after running out of fuel. The plane had a parachute system and the pilot was able to safely escape into a life-raft where he was retrieved by Veendam.

"Holland America Line employees consistently strive for professional and personal excellence, and to be honored for saving a life is both humbling and rewarding," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "On behalf of Veendam's captain and crew, thank you to Lloyd's List for bestowing the honor of 'Seafarer of the Year,' a recognition we greatly appreciate."

"The officers and crew performed exceptionally well and made a dramatic rescue – I am very proud of the Veendam team," added Keith Taylor, executive vice president, fleet operations, Holland America Group, and retired Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard. "This rescue is a great reminder of the commitment all of us at Holland America Line, our sister brands and the cruise industry have in supporting rescue efforts at sea when we are near."

Lloyd's List called Veendam's award one of the "stand-out moments of the gala dinner."

"Whenever the crew of a vessel is actively involved in a rescue it shows the capabilities and the humanity of the profession," said Sander Wielemaker, Atlantic area manager DNV GL, sponsors of the award. "The master and crew, through coordination with the authorities, were able to save the life of the individual and no doubt add a moment of out-of-the-ordinary excitement for the passengers of the cruise ship."

Holland America Line participates in rescues at sea whenever called upon. Also in 2015, ms Zuiderdam rescued eight crewmembers from a sinking vessel in the Caribbean, while ms Zaandam came to the aid of seven stranded crewmembers at the Arctowski Polish research station at King George Island in Antarctica.

MSC Cruises Reveals Further Details of MSC Meraviglia
With just twelve months to go until the first guests set sail on-board MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises — the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa — has today revealed further details of its first next-generation smart ship. Designed around meeting every need of its guests, MSC Meraviglia will introduce new, cutting edge ways to connect vacationers seamlessly with the experiences that matter to them, whether at sea or on land.

MSC Cruises Reveals Further Details of MSC MeravigliaWith the first cruise scheduled for June 4, 2017, MSC Meraviglia will feature the ultimate in entertainment, alongside a broad range of dining options and luxurious wellness choices. In addition to the on-board experience, the ship will spend her inaugural summer season sailing the western Mediterranean—calling at beautiful, historic destinations with a unique, highly-tailored program of discovery excursions, to immerse guests in local culture and tastes.

1. Exclusive, world-class entertainment from Cirque du Soleil The highlight of on-board entertainment will be represented by the world leader in artistic performance, Cirque du Soleil, thanks to the exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea partnership with MSC Cruises.

Two unique Cirque du Soleil shows will be performed on-board in the evenings, 6 nights per week, at the purpose-built Carousel Lounge. In addition, MSC Cruises will offer an exclusive on-site dinner service for up to 100 of the 450 guests booked for the show, elevating MSC Cruises' exquisite dining and award-winning entertainment to yet another level. In fact, this is a unique experience that cannot be had anywhere else at sea — or in the world, for that matter.

MSC Cruises designed a custom-made entertainment venue, the Carousel Lounge, for MSC Meraviglia and its three Meraviglia and Meraviglia-Plus sister smart cruise ships. Featuring the latest technology, this ground-breaking venue, which has been designed to meet the needs of Cirque du Soleil and its performers, will be a stunning circular performance space with a 180° circular glass wall. Constructed with the most cutting edge equipment and special rigging, the Carousel Lounge will enable Cirque du Soleil performers to deliver their world-renowned performances for the exclusive enjoyment of MSC Cruises guests.

2. Enriched family offering and cutting-edge entertainment for all ages With MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises continues to evolve and enrich the family options that have historically been at the core of its offering. The facilities and services for families on every MSC Cruises vacation, are designed to ensure that it is engaging for all members of the family, both together and individually.

For the first time on any MSC Cruises ship, all of the facilities for families, kids and teens are all together in a super amusement park and children's area. This means families have a dedicated area specially designed for their needs, providing a safe place for children, and an opportunity to also meet and get to know other families. This area includes the DOREMI Studio Lounge, a dedicated lounge for all family activities, DOREMI Tech Lab, a must visit destination for kids who love technology, as well as facilities designed in partnership with family experts including the LEGO Group and Chicco.

Amongst other features, the on-board Aqua Park will include four action-packed water slides, a splash pool and champagne bowl. And the Himalayan Bridge will thrill adventure seekers, who can attach themselves to a rope and cross the ship, nearly 200 feet above the water.

3. Comfortable accommodations to meet every need The innovative accommodations on MSC Meraviglia demonstrate the way that MSC Cruises puts the guest at the heart of its designs and ship building — the way in which only a family-owned business can. With 10 different types of staterooms to choose from, there really is something for everyone.

The MSC Yacht Club
MSC Meraviglia features an enhanced MSC Yacht Club with luxurious accommodation, now spanning three decks with 78 suites, 15 inside staterooms and two apartments. The two coveted apartment suites are designed with a large living room and two balconies, one of which is a large outdoor space that has a dining table for eating al fresco and a private whirlpool.

This unique "ship within a ship" concept is specially designed for guests seeking exclusivity and privacy in a world full of choice. MSC Yacht Club guests can thus enjoy the world-class entertainment, specialty restaurants and boutiques before returning to their own private, luxurious sanctuary.

With unparalleled luxury comparable to that of a private yacht, it also provides key benefits including the Top Sail Lounge, an entirely self-contained private club, offering panoramic sea views, and the One Pool Deck, featuring a private pool, whirlpool baths and solarium. A private elevator will transport guests discreetly to the MSC Aurea Spa to experience the delights of an authentic Balinese spa, with an exclusive MSC Yacht Club massage and treatment room.

Modular staterooms designed with the needs of families in mind
The trend for multi-generational vacations is further met on this ship with a clever modular staterooms system, which is unique to MSC Cruises. Up to three staterooms can be combined together to accommodate up to 10 guests.

In addition to the modular staterooms, quadruple staterooms can accommodate a family of up to four people each, with a living space in the daytime, and a sofa that turns into a comfortable bed by night – making the most effective use of space in the stateroom.

4. A truly unprecedented choice of both fine and casual dining options MSC Meraviglia makes available to her guests an unprecedented choice of both fine and casual options through 12 venues – in true MSC Cruises fashion - serving always fresh, authentic food. This starts with the buffet, open 20-hours a day, which will serve a delicious array of Mediterranean specialties and international cuisines – including ethnic, "itinerary" and wellness corners, plus a multitude of other tastes and dietary needs catered for round-the-clock.

In addition, fine dining options examples include the award-winning Kaito Sushi Bar, the new Kaito Teppanyaki Restaurant and an American-style steakhouse with specialty meats from around the world (details of additional fine dining options will be revealed over time).

5. The 315 foot long Mediterranean-style promenade Another outstanding feature of MSC Meraviglia is her impressive Mediterranean-style indoor promenade, featuring a 262 foot LED sky that creates an awe-inspiring atmosphere 24 hours a day. With stunning visuals and effects, the Promenade will be the social center of the ship and a focal point for a broad range of leisure activities. Amongst others, guests can stroll up and down, sit back and take in the atmosphere, shop until their hearts' content, or snack on delicious ice cream or crepes from Jean Philippe Maury, the award-winning French chocolatier and pastry chef.

6. Elegant pools for daytime relaxation and night-time entertainment MSC Meraviglia offers all her guests a choice of three elegantly designed pools:

• The main pool, located on deck 15 is inspired by the cool vibes of Miami's South Beach. At approximately 82 feet long, it has the most generous poolside space at sea. By night, the pool becomes a visual spectacle, illuminated with special lighting. There is also a buffet nearby with inside and outdoor dining options, providing guests with more convenience and optimal relaxation time.
• As MSC Meraviglia is the ship for all seasons, there is a 33 foot indoor pool with a magrodome that can be opened when the ship is in port or the weather simply allows for it.
• Finally, the Aft Pool on deck 16 offers spectacular views from the front of the ship, while by night is transformed into a space where guests can dance the night away under the stars.

Additionally, the private One Deck Pool, exclusively for the use of MSC Yacht Club guests, is in a coveted position at the top of the ship on deck 19 providing a quiet hideaway for relaxation.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 44.86 + 2.80%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 69.11 + 4.79%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.30 - 0.86%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 41.06 - 7.46%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Only two four-stack ships were built for service on a route other than the North Atlantic. Name either of these ships and the route they were built for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - Name the ship, and location on the ship, where this photograph was taken.

Answer - The picture is the heli pad area on QE2, know it well as we designed the bar area and canopy they now have.
courtesy of Andy C.


Cruise News - June 27, 2016

Cunard Reveals Queen Mary 2 Remastered
Cunard’s flagship liner Queen Mary 2 will set sail this month on her first voyage following an investment in the region of $132 million, one of the most significant refurbishments undertaken by the world’s most venerable passenger shipping line, now marking 176 years in operation.

On 23rd June the remastered liner sailed into Southampton Water flanked by fleet royalty Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, and was greeted by a host of high-profile guests. The vessel will then set sail for New York, continuing her schedule of iconic transatlantic crossings, a unique journey that has been enjoyed across the decades by famous personalities from the Golden Age of Ocean travel including Audrey Hepburn, Clarke Gable and Winston Churchill, to political figures and luminaries of today such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President George H.W. Bush, film maker Wes Anderson, actress Tilda Swinton, James Taylor, and many others.

The introduction of The Verandah as the ship’s new speciality restaurant“The luxury liner has been lovingly remastered with new contemporary interior designs and guest experiences, some of which take inspiration from the original Queen Mary that launched at the height of the art-deco movement in the 1930s. Cunard’s investment, marking 80 years since the original liner launched, has ensured every detail from the carpets to the curtains recalls that iconic vessel which became a symbol of British elegance.

The remastering features:

• Redesign and refurbishment of the Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites and restaurants, as well as Britannia staterooms, the latter to be fully complete by the end of the year
• The addition of 30 further Britannia Club staterooms, 15 Britannia single staterooms and five Britannia inside staterooms
• Redesign of key public spaces and restaurants, including the transformation of the former Winter Garden into the Carinthia Lounge, the introduction of The Verandah as the ship’s new speciality restaurant, and the complete refresh and restructuring of the Kings Court, the ship’s popular buffet area
• 10 additional kennels, complete with Liverpool lamp post and New York fire hydrant to make dogs feel at home in the world’s only transatlantic kennel service
• And as befitting the flagship of the Cunard fleet, a complete repaint of the ship exterior and significant technical enhancements and structural changes

Over one million man hours has gone in to the refurbishment, over a 25 day period, 594,000 square feet of luxurious new carpets (the equivalent of 10 British football pitches) has been laid, 4,000 new framed pictures have been brought on board and over 3,900 gallons of paint have been applied to the ship’s hull - are just a few examples of the sheer size and scale of these refurbishments.

The essence of Queen Mary 2 lies in allowing guests to lose themselves in a world of glamour, timeless sophistication and luxury. Alongside brand new dining experiences, guests can sample the delights of the world’s finest wine cellar at sea, with a unique collection of 486 fine wines and a stunning collection of Ports, dating back to 1840.

This modern icon also plays host to some of the finest quintessential British and international brands, with an exclusive co-branded travel collection from Aspinal of London, and sought after Cartier products available for guests to purchase whilst on board.

The transformation of the former Winter Garden into the Carinthia LoungeThe Queen Mary 2 experience is revered for its exceptional crew – in its 176 year history Cunard has seen seven of its Commodores knighted, an honour no other shipping company can claim. On board Queen Mary 2 today the level of expertise and tradition is not forgotten, with highly trained and attentive staff, all graduates from the ship's White Star Service Academy. From skilled personal butlers and concierge teams of the Cunard Grills to the teams of sommeliers and waiting staff across the breadth of dining venues – all are ready to cater for the needs of every guest.

“The significant investment into our flagship, Queen Mary 2, is indicative of our commitment to our guests, and to the special place that the ship holds, not only for those who are passionate about our famed ship, but also for the unique position she holds in the cruise landscape,” said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America. “From her spectacular debut in 2004, to her current remastering, Queen Mary 2 continues to capture the imagination of those who experience her classic ocean liner voyages.”

The essence of Queen Mary 2 lies in allowing guests to lose themselves in a world of glamour, timeless sophistication and luxury. Alongside brand new dining experiences, guests can sample the delights of the world’s finest wine cellar at sea, with a unique collection of 486 fine wines and a stunning collection of Ports, dating back to 1840.

This modern icon also plays host to some of the finest quintessential British and international brands, with an exclusive co-branded travel collection from Aspinal of London, and sought after Cartier products available for guests to purchase whilst on board.

The Queen Mary 2 experience is revered for its exceptional crew – in its 176 year history Cunard has seen seven of its Commodores knighted, an honour no other shipping company can claim. On board Queen Mary 2 today the level of expertise and tradition is not forgotten, with highly trained and attentive staff, all graduates from the ship's White Star Service Academy. From skilled personal butlers and concierge teams of the Cunard Grills to the teams of sommeliers and waiting staff across the breadth of dining venues – all are ready to cater for the needs of every guest.

“The significant investment into our flagship, Queen Mary 2, is indicative of our commitment to our guests, and to the special place that the ship holds, not only for those who are passionate about our famed ship, but also for the unique position she holds in the cruise landscape,” said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America. “From her spectacular debut in 2004, to her current remastering, Queen Mary 2 continues to capture the imagination of those who experience her classic ocean liner voyages.”

Royal Caribbean Signs Agreement With Miami-Dade County To Build World-Class Cruise Terminal
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced an agreement with Miami-Dade County to construct and operate a dramatic new cruise terminal at PortMiami, on land leased from the County. The new terminal will be a striking addition to PortMiami, and will serve as homeport to Royal Caribbean International ships, including a 5,400-passenger Oasis-class ship, the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships. The agreement will come before the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners on July 6, 2016.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), in agreement with Miami-Dade County, will build and operate a new, world-class terminal at PortMiami. The building is scheduled for late 2018.“We are truly excited to be working with Miami-Dade County and PortMiami to create not just another cruise terminal, but a truly iconic building,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This new terminal is a symbol of our commitment to Miami, the city where our company first started almost 50 years ago. We can’t wait to bring an Oasis-class ship to PortMiami.”

“Miami-Dade County is happy to welcome Royal Caribbean’s expansion at PortMiami, and all the economic benefits that come along with it," said Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Mayor. “This public-private partnership will have an estimated economic impact of $500 million and generate approximately 4,000 jobs. Royal Caribbean has been an important part of our world-class community for almost 50 years, and this expansion will once again make PortMiami Royal Caribbean’s largest cruise port in the world. I thank them for their continued investment in and commitment to Miami-Dade.”

Broadway Malyan has been selected as the firm to design the new terminal, after a global competition was held between five of the world's leading architectural firms. The firm was selected because of their creative thinking and cutting-edge design.

The 170,000-square-foot terminal is nicknamed the ‘Crown of Miami’ because of its distinct shape. The design evokes the points of the symbolic headgear when viewed from the water; the ‘M’ of Miami when viewed from the east or western approaches; and a sense of waves rising or ships passing when viewed from the terminal side. At night, the terminal’s facade will be lit ensuring that the building makes a striking impression and providing a dynamic addition to the PortMiami landscape.

The new terminal will not be the only addition for Royal Caribbean in the coming year. The company has committed to add a 20,000-square-foot Innovation Lab to its corporate headquarters located at PortMiami. The Innovation Lab will continue to generate Royal Caribbean’s industry-leading, innovative vessels.

Currently, PortMiami welcomes approximately 750,000 Royal Caribbean passengers annually, representing about 15 percent of its overall passenger traffic. Once the new cruise terminal is completed, it is anticipated that Royal Caribbean will generate at least 1.8 million passengers at PortMiami – representing no less than 30 percent of the port’s projected passenger traffic.

Carnival Corporation Reports Record Second Quarter Earnings And $1 Billion Share Repurchase Authorization
Carnival Corporation & plc announced adjusted net income of $370 million, or $0.49 diluted EPS for the second quarter of 2016 compared to adjusted net income for the second quarter of 2015 of $193 million, or $0.25 diluted EPS. For the second quarter of 2016, U.S. GAAP net income, which included unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $242 million and $7 million of other expenses, was $605 million, or $0.80 diluted EPS. For the second quarter of 2015, U.S. GAAP net income was $222 million, or $0.29 diluted EPS. Revenues for the second quarter of 2016 were $3.7 billion compared to $3.6 billion for the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and CEO Arnold Donald stated, "Our strong second quarter demonstrates continued momentum as we again achieved a near doubling of adjusted earnings per share. Our ongoing effort to drive demand for our brands in excess of our measured capacity growth has led to increased revenues and helped maintain the mid-point of our full year earnings guidance despite the recent currency movements and rises in fuel prices that combined represent a negative $0.17 per share."

Carnival Corporation Reports Record Second Quarter Earnings And $1 Billion Share Repurchase AuthorizationDonald also noted several major milestones that will contribute to the future of the company including the re-mastering of Queen Mary 2, the opening of Holland America's Denali square complex in Alaska and the introduction of AIDA Cruises' AIDAprima, Holland America Line's Koningsdam, and Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Vista. In addition, building on a legacy of pioneering achievements, Carnival Corporation became the first cruise company to begin operating voyages from the US to Cuba in more than four decades through its Fathom brand -- a historic moment that captured worldwide media coverage.

Key metrics for the second quarter 2016 compared to the prior year were as follows:

• On a constant currency basis, net revenue yields (net revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") increased 3.6 percent for the 2Q 2016, which was better than the company's guidance of up 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Gross revenue yields increased 1.3 percent.
• Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD decreased 1.9 percent in constant currency, compared to March guidance, up 0.5 to 1.5 percent due to the timing of expenses between quarters. Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD in current dollars decreased 5.4 percent.
• Changes in fuel prices (including fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates contributed $0.04 per share to second quarter earnings. 2016 Outlook

At this time, cumulative advance bookings for the remainder of the year are well ahead of the prior year at slightly higher prices. Since March, bookings for the remainder of the year are at higher prices with volumes running lower than last year because there is less inventory remaining for sale than at this time in 2015.

Carnival said that it expects full year 2016 net revenue yields on a constant currency basis to be up approximately 3.5 percent versus the prior year, compared to March guidance of approximately 3 percent. Carnival said that it now expects full year 2016 net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD to be up approximately 1.5 percent compared to the prior year on a constant currency basis, better than March guidance of approximately 2.0 percent. Changes in fuel prices (including fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates are expected to reduce full year earnings by $0.17 per share compared to March guidance.

Taking the above factors into consideration, Carnival said that it expects full year 2016 adjusted earnings per share guidance to be in the range of $3.25 to $3.35, compared to March guidance of $3.20 to $3.40 and 2015 adjusted earnings of $2.70 per share.

Donald noted, "This is shaping up to be another strong year for our company as we expect over 20 percent earnings growth and are approaching a nine percent return on invested capital. We have accelerated progress toward our stated goal of achieving the double digit return threshold and have accelerated distributions to shareholders. We recently raised our dividend by 17 percent to over $1 billion per year. Since October, we have repurchased nearly $1.9 billion in shares under our stock repurchase program. Yesterday, our Board of Directors approved our third $1 billion share repurchase authorization demonstrating confidence in our outlook and reinforcing our commitment to return value to shareholders."

Third Quarter 2016 Outlook

Third quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up 2 to 3 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for the third quarter are expected to be 6 to 7 percent higher on a constant currency basis compared to the prior year driven by the timing of advertising expense and the re-mastering of Queen Mary 2 in dry-dock. Changes in fuel prices (including fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates are expected to increase third quarter earnings by $0.01 per share compared to the prior year.

Based on the above factors, Carnival said that it expects adjusted earnings for the third quarter 2016 to be in the range of $1.83 to $1.87 per share versus 2015 adjusted earnings of $1.75 per share.

Explore the Galapagos Islands Like Never Before
Where the fittest survive, modern luxury thrives. Celebrity Cruises has today revealed its exciting new cruises onboard its newest ships in one of the most dynamic corners of the world – the Galapagos Islands.

Explore the Galapagos Islands Like Never BeforeDiscerning travelers now have even more options with the addition of two distinct new ships, Celebrity Xploration and Celebrity Xperience, which begin sailing in March 2017, following a multi-million dollar refresh per vessel for signature modern luxury enhancements. Both ships offer a wide all-inclusive range of indulgences and land excursions while sailing new itineraries. Guests can continue to sail onboard Celebrity's state-of-the-art 100-passenger Celebrity Xpedition. Together, the three stunning ships will offer six unique itineraries, 15 islands, more than 30 ports of call, and multiple packages to choose from.

Celebrity Xploration and Celebrity Xperience are both uniquely intimate. Ideal for travelers seeking a tight-knit community of like-minded vacationers, Celebrity’s Xploration is a beautiful catamaran featuring eight luxurious staterooms, each with a window or veranda offering unforgettable views. The larger Celebrity Xperience offers a similar modern luxury experience to guests staying in its 24 stylish staterooms. Regardless of the ship, each stateroom features deluxe accommodations with upgraded premium mattresses and pillows, plus luxurious bedding - all to create the most comfortable bed in the Galapagos. In addition, each room will have LCD TVs and high-speed internet service will be available throughout the ship. All vacations feature award-winning shore excursions led by expert naturalists, specially crafted meals, featuring fresh regional seafood and fish, by Celebrity’s Michelin-starred chef. Guests can also enjoy regional coffee, chocolate and other delights, premium spirits, a curated wine list, and service from the best staff at sea.

"With more than 12 years in the Galapagos Islands, guests have told us that we are best-in-class at providing award-winning vacations in this unique corner of the world,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Now we are offering the trip-of-a-lifetime onboard our newest ships with itineraries featuring ports of call we’ve never visited before and experiences that are exclusive to Celebrity. If a modern luxury vacation in the Galapagos Islands wasn’t on your bucket list before, it definitely should be on it now!”

Onboard Celebrity’s new ships, guests experience some of the most distinctive islands in the world through the ultimate modern luxury lens. Packages range from seven to 15 nights, and feature northern and southern loop itineraries:

Celebrity Xperience

• Guests can choose from seven-night, 10-night or 13-night, all-inclusive vacations
• New ports-of-call include Mosquera Islet, Black Turtle Cove, Cerro Brujo, Santa Fe, Darwin Bay and El Barranco - famous for its Prince Philip steps leading to vast seabird colonies of Nazca and Red-Footed Boobies
• Launching today and exclusive to Celebrity is a new Xperiential Travel 13-night itinerary. Guests can get up close and personal not only with the Galapagos wildlife but with the people who reside in the islands' communities. After spending two nights exploring Quito, Ecuador, sailing for seven nights, guests will disembark the ship and begin a three-night experience, which includes:
• Accommodations in a seaside hotel in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island
• A visit to a local farm or green house to gather provisions that will later be used to prepare an exclusive dinner with a professional chef at a local restaurant
• Time with a local fisherman in search of a special catch of the day for a special dinner with the chef that evening. Vacationers will learn about responsible tourism that fuels and helps preserve the islands while encountering wild species of fish. After, guests can visit a private beach to snorkel and swim

Xploration

• For the ultimate experience in the Galapagos, guests can charter their own ship for a seven-night, all-inclusive vacation with a variety of choices of pre- and post-cruise experiences
• New ports-of-call include El Barranco, Darwin Bay, Espumilla Beach, Mosquera Islet, Chinese Hat, Kicker Rock, Cerro Brujo, Walls of Tears and Puerto Villamil - the small town home to the Galapagos Giant Tortoise Center

In addition to the two new ships, travelers can continue to sail on the award-winning Celebrity Xpedition with seven-, 10-, 11- or 15-night, all-inclusive vacations. Launched in 2014 to mark the 10th anniversary of sailing in this region of wonder, immersive and inspiring land excursions exclusive to Celebrity are available to guests sailing on the ship. These experiences range from dining on authentic cuisine prepared by local residents to contributing to the protected islands through the Scalesia Reforestation Project - a unique partnership with the Galapagos National Park.

Grand Circle Cruise Line Announces New Small Ship Cruise Tour to Cuba
Alan E. Lewis, chairman of Grand Circle Cruise Line, the leader in small ship cruising worldwide, today announced that it will begin operating Cuba's Cultural Treasures: A Coastal Voyage, an 11-night, 89-passenger cruise tour from Miami to Cuba in January 2017. Grand Circle will be one of the first cruise lines to operate in Cuba and the only U.S cruise line to offer a cruise experience with fewer than 100 passengers.

Grand Circle Cruise Line Announces New Small Ship Cruise Tour to Cuba"More than 7,000 Americans have traveled to Cuba with us through our Grand Circle Foundation since November 2011 and have been moved by Cuba's warm and welcoming people, rich history, and vibrant culture," said Lewis. "We are excited to introduce our new small ship itinerary in Cuba and to offer further opportunities for Americans and Cubans to forge new friendships."

Cuba's Cultural Treasures: A Coastal Voyage will begin in Miami where, following an overnight and morning tour of Miami's Little Havana, travelers will embark the 89-passenger M/V Clio. The ship will sail around Cuba's northern, eastern, and southern coastline for the next seven days—stopping in port towns and cities that reveal Cuba's complex history, natural beauty and cultural vibrancy. Along the way, travelers will experience the Afro-Cuban traditions of Matanzas and the tranquil small cities of Caibarien and Remedios, discover the historical legacy of Santiago de Cuba, and explore the picturesque colonial streets of Trinidad and the artistic legacy of Cienfuegos. Travelers will disembark their ship in Cienfuegos and drive overland to Havana, where they will spend the next three nights in Cuba's capital city before departing for home. (A reverse itinerary beginning in Havana and ending in Miami is also available).

Throughout this People-to-People itinerary, travelers will meet Cubans from all walks of life and experience their myriad passions and traditions, including music and baseball. They will visit a casa particular, a restaurant run in a private home, to savor a lunch of authentic Cuban dishes—and talk with baseball players during a visit to the oldest, continuously utilized baseball diamond in the Western Hemisphere. Travelers will enjoy Cuban music and dance performances and will meet painters, basket makers, ceramists, writers, and musicians throughout the country. They also will take part in discussions with local experts on a variety of topics, including Cuba's economy, Afro-Cuban religions, the history of the National Ballet, daily life in Cuba, and more—and they'll learn how to cook a few local specialties, play the popular game of dominoes, and dance the traditional casino (Cuban salsa).

Princess Cruises Showcases Local Expert Speakers
Princess Cruises guests aboard Regal Princess sailing to Scandinavia and Russia this summer now have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the destinations with an impressive line-up of speakers who will come aboard overnight to share their personal stories, local expertise and passion for the places they call home.

This unique speaker series, developed in partnership with Cruise Baltic, is part of the new industry-first "Local Connections" program, aimed to inspire the cruise line's guests by sharing the pride the company's port partners have for their destination, while taking full advantage of the suggestions and creativity of those partners who know the destination best.

Princess Cruises Showcases Local Expert SpeakersPrincess Cruises Showcases Local Expert Speakers to Regal Princess Guests in the Baltic "As part of our new 'Local Connections' program, we developed an impressive speaker series we are certain our guests will enjoy in partnership with Cruise Baltic," said Bruce Krumrine, vice president, global shore excursions, Princess Cruises. "From a local journalist, ballerina, chef, musician and historian, these are just some of the vibrant personalities who will bring the memorable destinations of the Baltic to life for our guests."

More than 70 speakers will join Regal Princess during the summer 2016 Baltic cruise season. Highlights include:

Pia Allerslev, Mayor – Copenhagen, Denmark
Allerslev is the Mayor of the Children and Youth Administration in the City of Copenhagen and a member of the Copenhagen City Council for the Danish Liberal Party. She began her political career in 1991, where she was elected Chair of the Liberal Youth Party in her former hometown. Prior to becoming Mayor of Children and Youth, Allerslev was Mayor of Culture and Leisure for six years. Earlier she worked as a teacher gaining valuable insights into the public sector by working in the public school system. Now she is shaping the conditions herself as a politician and a Mayor.

Maris Hellrand, Estonia Stories -Tallinn, Estonia
Hellrand is a multilingual freelance journalist and consultant who tells engaging and enriching stories about Estonia to international audiences. She is passionate about travel, music, design, architecture, cinema, international affairs, innovation, start-ups, and education. After nearly two decades as a global nomad, Estonia has become the professional focus (and a private paradise) for her. Her countless stories about Estonia have reached TV, radio and magazine audiences in Germany, France, United Kingdom, and Scandinavia.

Evgenia Brileva, Ballerina – St. Petersburg, Russia
Brileva was born into an artistic family as the daughter of a ballet dancer and a musician. As a backstage child, she was naturally devoted to acting, dancing and piano playing. At the age of 10 she toured to Germany with her father performing pieces by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. She learned photography from her grandfather, a press photographer of famous Pravda Newspaper. Brileva's background is a blend of Russian culture that includes ballet, music, fine art & photography, which has been all the more enriched and inspired by the beauty of her mother city.

Ingreid Rudefors, Director – Stockholm, Sweden
Rudefors is a Swedish director, writer and film producer. She spent the first part of her professional life in New York, where she traveled after high school to study theater. In the late 1980's, she was active in the New York independent film industry. She currently works as film commissioner in Film Region Stockholm Malardalen.

Sonya Antoni, Historian - Waremunde, Germany
Sonya hails from an international surrounding and upbringing: born with a British mother and a German father, she grew up in Iran and South Africa, returning to her father's country to study English and French Literature and Linguistics as well as Psychology in Germany, England and France. Her choice of the University of Potsdam set her path for tourism as the World Heritage Sites of Sanssouci Parks and Palaces were a haven for the art lover. Participating in the new tourism programme of the Potsdam City Council and of the Foundation Prussian Parks & Palaces she soon became inseparable from the city's history combining it with contemporary politics from the German capital a stone's throw away.

"We're proud to showcase some of the beautiful destinations of Northern Europe that we call home to Princess Cruises guests," said Claus Bødker, director, Cruise Baltic. "The dynamic line up of speakers we've secured together, will offer guests authentic and passionate personal stories, as well as an unforgettable glimpse into our local culture, history and way of life."

Additional elements of the "Local Connections" program include a video series of local port partners sharing their insights, experiences and recommendations of the places they call home, new and exclusive shore excursions, new port welcome and departure experiences, and an insider's guide including "cool things" made in each port.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 43.64 - 10.02%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 65.95 - 13.37%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.32 - 2.93%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 38.21 - 13.59%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - Name the ship, and location on the ship, where this photograph was taken.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Here's one from a 1967 booklet put out by the Trans-Atlantic Passenger Steamship Conference - What is the name of the small rope, tied to the end of a hawser on a ship. The rope is thrown ashore, and by it one end of the hawser is hauled to the pier.

Answer - The "Sapphire Princess" was severely damaged by a fire while under construction in Japan. The "Diamond Princess" under construction at the same yard was renamed "Sapphire Princess" and went into service. The damaged ship was repaired and came into service later as the "Diamond Princess".
courtesy of Larry P. MacDonald

VACATION & CRUISE SPECIALS
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Carnival - 4-Day Bahamas  from $229 per person
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